Is This For Real?

Years ago, spoken word artist and visionary poet, the late Gil Scott-Heron, wrote a song called ‘B Movie’.  Perhaps it is because he recently passed away in May of this year or maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking about the idea that history repeats itself that Mr. Scott-Heron has crossed my mind so often lately.

I can’t do him any justice; watch this 9-minute clip for yourself and decide whether or not you think much has changed:


In ‘B Movie’ he said during the poetry refrain*:

This ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really ain’t nothing but a movie.”


To many people, outside of the persistent hardships they’re facing, not much feels real lately.  We watch what is happening in this country and think that we’re all getting punked because what we’re living through is nothing more than one big and stupid reality show.  After all, don’t people often watch the telly to be entertained and, maybe, learn something?  Well, then it stands to reason that the political climate should be no different — it is a televised joke…except it’s not funny ‘ha ha‘ it’s more like ‘ha ha hell’.

When I look at the current crop of political candidates I realise that they all have something in common:  a strong desire to return to the past.  They seem to have a sense of desperation oozing from them — not that they’re desperate to be president but, rather, desperate to get that feeling of ‘the good old days’ back.  As Mr. Scott-Heron said, “Nostalgia.  That’s what America wants — the good old days”.  What else can it be?  What, other than a need to return to the past, could possibly explain the willingness of too many in this country to allow people like Mitt Romney (king of slick double-talk), Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin (Dumb and Dumber: the crazy version) to be taken seriously as political candidates?

They don’t seem anxious to do the real work it takes to be a leader; anyone can say s/he wants to be the President of a nation but, um, seriously?  How many can step up?   These candidates seeming to be begging for those good old days — you know, the days before the Census Bureau reported changing demographics…and before immigration issues, gay rights and equal pay for women become national discussion topics.   And, if we’re talking about the really good ‘good old days’, then, of course, we’re talking about before people who represent ‘the others’ / the outsiders stepped into leadership positions of national and international prominence.   Hmmm….I guess it has been forgotten that the good old days weren’t so great for everyone — which is why going backwards is pure nonsense.

Are we so desperate to return to those ‘good old days’ that we’re willing to pretend that any of these candidates running for the highest office in the land has anything remotely resembling the emotional maturity and intellectual viability needed to pay attention and fix serious problems?

Get real!  We don’t have to be extras in a ‘B Movie’.

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*Unlike the clip above that was filmed at a live performance, this version has the full song, with the refrain ‘This ain’t really your life…‘ but Mr. Scott-Heron isn’t visible in this version.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLtRHN7fsgY&playnext=1&list=PL9B53846134582683