Friday, February 21, 2014

Discharge, "Free Speech for the Dumb"

What is this song about?

"Free speech, free speech, for the dumb. Free speech, free speech, for the dumb."

Two chords.

I think of this song every time I hear from a truther or a birther.

I think of this song every time Reverend Billy thrusts himself in front of a camera or Ju Hong gleefully interrupts a speech so he can hear the sound of his voice.

Every time I make the mistake of reading internet comments.

Every time my friends fill my newsfeed with anything that Donald Trump or Pat Roberston do.

Any time I read misinformation on Drudge Report or Democracy Now!, where self-aggrandizing firebrands pat themselves on the back for being "investigative journalists" without showing any sense (or care, really) for how to pass a law.

Every time that Julian Assange boasts about how all information should be free, before running out of the room any time someone brings up the rape charges against him.

Every time Sarah Palin gets another TV show or book deal.

Every time Ted Cruz inflicts himself the senate floor.

When Ted Nugent compares himself to Rosa Parks.

When lawmakers who blindly worship Ronald Reagan complain about Obama raising the debt ceiling.

Every time someone cites the Bible or "the sanctity of marriage" as a case against basic rights for gays.

Every time Dave Mustaine chats with Alex Jones.

Every time I hear about Rush Limbaugh calling someone a "slut" or a "feminazi."

When Stephen Schwarzman says of Obama's policies for billionaires, "It's a war, it's like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939."

Any time Ayman al-Zawahiri incites his followers to violence.

When the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works denies climate change because "God's still up there."

Then again, I wonder if this song is about the other kind of "dumb"--"(of a person) unable to speak." Maybe Discharge is pro "Free speech for the dumb." Who is unable to speak? Who is voiceless, and whose responsibility is it to give them a voice?

I think of this song when I see read about members of Pussy Riot getting imprisoned or whipped.

When I read that the Syrian Civil War death toll has exceeded 140,000 people, over 7,000 of them being children.

When the US Supreme Court strikes down the Voting Rights Act.

When the Senate votes against expanding background checks despite overwhelming public support and at least 44 school shootings since the Newtown massacre.

When racist voter ID laws are passed in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

When the Veteran's Jobs Act gets blocked by Senators like Marco Rubio and David Vitter, who later tell you to "Thank a veteran" and "Support out troops" on their Twitter pages.

When I see photos of the protestors in Ukraine being tortured by Viktor Yanukovych's goons. 

When someone with five draft deferments sends people into war.

When a coward from the Taliban mutilates someone like Bibi Aisha or tries to kill someone like Malala Yousafzai. 

Every time another state signs ultrasound procedures into law. 

Every time someone gets cleared of murder in a "stand your ground" case. 

Every time John Boehner and Mitch McConnell fight the minimum wage hike, or Eric Cantor works to end overtime pay. 

Every time school funding gets gutted. 

Every time the lawmakers who refuse to bring up any jobs bills force another vote to repeal Obamacare. 

Every time I read about someone disappearing under Ramzan Kadyrov's rule.

In any case, it's a cool song.

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