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80s pop culture warned us about modern day politics! The hairspray stopped us from paying attention…

The older I get the more I look back at history to see if we have either improved as a society or been stuck in the mud. The more I look at the way our political world, otherwise known as governing bodies and elected officials, the more convinced I am than ever we have only gotten worse since the 1980s. We were warned, we knew what was going on, and we let it get worse.

I can cite 100s of political examples, but who cares. In a more general sense we only need to look at pop culture from a decade to see where we were.

For this first one I’m going to claim a song from 1992 as really being a recap of the 1980s. It was probably written in 1991 from ideas they had in 1990. This particular one is Symphony of Destruction by heavy metal band Megadeath.

You take a mortal man
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people’s heads a’roll
A’roll, a’ roll

Think about what happens when we look at certain politicians. They abuse power, they are considered above the law. They can do whatever they want with no consequence and merely later say “I don’t recall” and we move on. How many times have we had members of the two major political parties dead to rights on a breaking a law and they walk away, and are then re-elected (that’s on us as a society).  But I would argue, do we apply rules and laws to gods? Not usually, but these people aren’t gods we just treat them as such.

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Of destruction

We do kind of become lemmings. Someone sings a good song politically and we follow along because it was what we wanted to hear.

Acting like a robot
Its metal brain corrodes
You try to take its pulse
Before the head explodes
Explodes, explodes

Think about some of the congresspeople who have been in office for 40 years. Should they still be there? Honestly? Name one who is more than just a mouthpiece for their staff and donors if you can.

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Swaying to the symphony
Of destruction

Very much worth repeating, as it applies more and more everyday (social media?)

The earth starts to rumble
World powers fall
A’warring for the heavens
A peaceful man stands tall
Tall, tall

In the 80s there was a active, vocal and much discussed concern of what happens if the US and USSR go to war. It was thought that it would be nuclear and life on this planet may end (except politicians…crap I mean roaches). We currently have this topic rumbling to the surface again, the players may have changed but the game is the same.

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Swaying to the symphony
Of destruction

If we don’t change our ways we may be headed for destruction is the point that Megadeath was trying to make, and I think that with how divided we are as a nation there is some justification for that sentiment.  Is it too late? Of course not. Do we need a nationwide timeout? Yes, I think we do.

Now, along with this we need to look at another 80s tune.

So, no big secret here based on the musical choices I have for showing we are stuck in the mud with respect to moving forward as a nation, I play guitar. Not terribly well, but I do try.

On top of that I am a HUGE fan of 80s rock music. Yes, even the hair bands. However, I was listening to one of my favorites the other day and I was struck by the lyrics.

Over the last decade politics in the United States has gone from a necessary evil, where there were rules, written and unwritten, that people generally followed. Candidates were informed, they really wanted to make a different (typically), and now it has changed. Politicians want to be famous, they want to have people scream their name, and many of them could not possibly care less what the average voter thinks. It is all about donors and developing this “Cult of Personality” around you amongst your support base.

How do politicians do that and what does it have to do with rock music?

Well, there is a bank called Living Colour, and they have a song, Cult of Personality. It rocks, you should listen. But let’s review the lyrics.

Look in my eyes, what do you see?
The cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you want to be
I’m the cult of personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

We just finished a Presidential election cycle with candidates on both sides who could be easily described by this verse. They want us to think they know what we want out of life, and they are the only ones who can get us there. Helpful hint to everyone, no one else can impact you reaching your dreams than you. Who is in an elected office will not make as much of a difference as hard work. Just sayin

Neon lights, a Nobel Prize
Then a mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your T.V.
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me

Well, we just had a President who won a Nobel Price for not being the guy that held office before him. He was the smiling face on TV, and seemed like a nice guy. But what he did to my personal insurance rates, and the amount of coverage we get for that money have gone in the wrong direction. Yet he smiled and said we could keep our plan, and things would get cheaper. Well, I guess in a way. There is a cheaper plan, and I could have kept my plan, I just can’t afford it. But now the deductible is so damn high its irrelevant.

I tell you one and one makes three
I’m the cult of personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

Not convinced? Are we any further down the road these 30+ years later? Or are we still talking about the same issues.

I bring to you a song by the granddaddy of all 80s megabands. Genesis, with front man Phil Collins.

Got out of bed, wasn’t feeling too good
With my wallet and my passport, a new pair of shoes
The sun is shining so I head for the park,
With a bottle of Tequila, and a new pack of cigarettes

I got a cousin and she got a friend,
Who thought that her aunt knew a man who could help
At his apartment I knocked on the door,
He wouldn’t come out until he got paid.
Now don’t tell anybody what I wanna do
If they find out you know that they’ll never let me through.

It’s no fun being an illegal alien
It’s no fun being an illegal alien

Down at the office had to fill out the forms
A pink one, a red one, the colours you choose,
Up to the counter to see what they think
They said ‘It doesn’t count man, it ain’t written in ink’.
Don’t trust anybody least not around here, cause

It’s not fun being an illegal alien,
It’s not fun being an illegal alien,
It’s not fun being an illegal alien,
It’s not fun being an illegal alien,
An illegal alien, O.K.

Consideration for your fellow man
Wouldn’t hurt anybody, sure fits in with my plan
Over the border, there lies the promised land

So don’t tell anybody what I wanna do
If they find out you know that they’ll never let me through.

It’s no fun being an illegal alien,
It’s no fun being an illegal alien,
It’s no fun being an illegal alien,
It’s no fun being an illegal alien.

Agree or disagree with one of the major political parties positions or not, you can’t deny that illegal immigration (aka undocumented citizenry) is still at the forefront of our national discussion.

Come on folks, we deserve better. Stop letting politicians divide us, and let’s start working together to solve our national issues, and those of the world where appropriate.

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