They told us to bow to the King and pay his taxes or we would be shot. So we threw his tea in the harbor and started shooting back.

It cost us years of death and destruction; frostbite, starvation, scurvy, madness.

But we did what we wanted to do.

They told us we had to be slaves. So we burned down the cornfields and blew up the cities and stabbed and slashed and screamed and bludgeoned and gnashed and…emancipated.

We did what we wanted to do.

They told us we couldn’t have a drink anymore. So we made criminal sociopaths captains of industry. We build underground bars and turned regular folks into booze runners. A whole sport (NASCAR) developed from the profession of running illegal booze through the backroads of the south.

People died as a result of “Bathtub Gin.” Livers got pickled. Homes got destroyed. Untouchables got shot. Tommy guns lit up Chicago. Stills got made. Hooch got passed around. And alcoholism flourished.

To this day, alcohol still kills tens of thousands of people a year, from drunk drivers to health issues exacerbated by liver malfunctions. But we still show beer and whiskey commercials at the Superbowl.

We did what we wanted to do.

They told us not to have sex before we got married. So, we flipped them off and started a sexual revolution.

Chlamydia, HPV, Herpes and, eventually HIV, ran wild among the population. Single motherhood went from an anomaly to a normalcy. And while I’m not condemning single motherhood – some single mothers do just fine – the breakdown of the nuclear family was a result. And the result of that – homes without fathers, deadbeat dads, etc – has been catastrophic in so many measurable ways, they are almost too numerous to name. But we didn’t let no squares tell us how to live or what we could and couldn’t do with our bodies.

We did what we wanted to do.

They told us not to do drugs. And we laughed at them when they told us to “just say no.” We did the opposite. We said yes. We turned on and tuned out. We smoked and popped and dropped and snorted and sniffed and shot-up and tweaked and mixed and chased and flew and crashed.

And our addiction rates skyrocketed. We raised children trapped in generational cycles of slavery to substance. We had to create entire industries and professions dedicated to rehabilitation and recovery from all the chemicals the buttoned down people told us were dangerous in the first place. But we destroyed our bodies and minds on our terms.

We did what we wanted to do.

They told us to turn it down, so we turned it up and stacked Marshall amps on top of each other so we could turn it up more.

We did what we wanted to do.

They told us to disburse, so we all went to Woodstock and played in the mud for a week.

We did what we wanted to do.

America is rock and roll. We rebel. It’s how we started. And it’s still how we think.

If you want to watch an American drive a hundred miles and hour, tell him (or her) he (or she) can only go ninety.

America is the unruly 14-year-old boy, who refuses to be told when he can go to bed and what he can or can’t eat. Rebellion is the ethos of our national consciousness. It always has been.

America is Evel Knievel, Elvis Presley, Rosa Parks, Kanye West, Amelia Earhart and Muhammad Ali.

When the majority is telling us to do something, it might be one hundred percent the right thing to do. But it’s not the American spirit. You will see the American spirit in the person refusing to comply. That person may be wrong on every level. They may be upside down on facts and have no truth on their side, but something inside them is telling them to resist.

Once Rock and Roll went to rehab, cleaned up its act and opened a Hall of Fame, it stopped being Rock and Roll. Now it’s just family entertainment. Nobody is going to burn a guitar on stage at the Grammys. The fire codes won’t allow it. Just stand o your mark and exit where you’re told. Basically just follow the girl with the statues. She knows the way.

“I live in America and I have no choices,” was the phrase my wife so casually quipped the other day, regarding our current state of being in this country. I had to shake my head in agreement.

Then, I quickly flipped on the news and saw a bunch of people defying stay-at-home orders and protesting outside a capital building somewhere. And I wasn’t sure if I agreed with what they were doing or not. I wasn’t sure if it was safe. I felt this little sting of fear. But then I smiled. Because I knew that the spirit of America – and Rock and Roll – was alive and in tact somewhere.

The spirit of this country not only lifts and elevates, but it destroys and decimates. There is a down side to us. And if you don’t understand that you – yes you, reading this right now (if you’re an American) – are a product of that in some way, you really don’t get the idea of America.

We touch the hot stove. We walk into the creepy building. We strap into the rocket ship.

How long is this virus, and this quarantine, going to last? There are probably going to be waves of the virus. So it’s going to be here a while. Are we going to beat it without losing a lot of lives? Maybe not.

Are people going to do some stupid things that make it worse than it has to be? Oh yes. That is a one-hundred percent certainty.

But someone, somewhere, is going to have to walk outside first and refuse to do what the powers that be tell them to do.

I’m not saying that’s the right move. That move might get them killed. But it is downright American.


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4 thoughts on “AMERICAN ROCK AND ROLL …

  1. The virus is real but they threw gas on the flames and distorted the facts with models that were off by 20x and created a base of fear.
    We have been self-isolated for a month with no sickness and no contact with anyone who has had the virus, directly or indirectly. They tell us if you are going to get sick, it would happen within two weeks. Why can’t we socialize with others who also have distanced themselves without illness or connection?
    100’s of people go to the market every day, we aren’t seeing a bump in illness from that.
    As far as i am concerned, Georgia is “Mikey” , the little brother in the Life commercials. Goaded by his older sibling , to take one for the team. To their surprise, he likes it. Maybe, to our surprise, Georgia will be fine. I think they will, their demographics are different, not as densely populated and no mass subway system to help a virus travel.
    Anyhow, another thoughtful piece Reggie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have kept our business open although there have been few customers. Now that Georgia is opening we know we will make it. We emptied our 401k to start this business and we will not go down without a fight. If anyone tries to guilt us into submission, they are wrong. I won’t curl up in a ball and close my life down and create even more hardship for my family and that of our employees.

    Liked by 1 person

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