The first week of May 2010 has been a doozie. A massive leak from an oil rig explosion not only took human lives; it set off an environmental distaster of untold proportion. Terrorism is alive and well on our soil and New York’s Times Square was evacuated for several hours when a car bomb was discovered by a street vendor. These events happened over the weekend, the slowest news days for journalists. Reporters beg for major stories over weekends and holidays. Then on Monday, a story out of Arizona erupted over illegal immigration law setting off another firestorm of controversy in Hispanic communities.
All the while, an act of God was pouring down on one of America’s most treasured cultural gems. Nashville was hit by a massive flood on Saturday, May 1. But for days – five days to be exact – little information came from the media leading us to believe it was much ado about nothing. On Wednesday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, I saw a brief segment on CNN that was mind blowing. Five days had gone by without even a hint how much havoc had reigned down on Music City. From 9:00 p.m. til 1:00 a.m. I was in touch with several people across the country to determine what had gone wrong.
In the wake of massive flooding in a major cultural hearth where fundamental and traditional roots representative of this country’s heritage spring forth – it’s crystal clear this nation doesn’t give a damn about our cultural heritage. Nor does it levy for those we call musicians, trying so hard to bring people together.
As my dad would have said to me, “that’s just the way it is.” That’s true, but the week’s events leave me cold with thoughts of what is important in this country. Industry and war are paramount. The industrial age is over, yet the oil industry is the life blood of many nations while we struggle to figure out how to manage a technological age. At the root of terrorism, religions meet crudely in fissures where black gold runs deep.
This country was not founded on anything that resembles “drill baby drill.” It was founded on basic principles of freedom that sprang mostly from religious domination. Where there is religion, there is music – the spiritual connection between earthly beings and the Divine. For many, music is religion. It is a universal language that brings people together like nothing else can.
Oil is toxic. It pollutes and clogs the fissures between those who have a natural ability to translate and channel what is divine. Terrrorism is a by-product of the oil industry. Much like a game of chess, someone is a pawn when the King and Queen simply want to go about the business of controlling resources regardless of who gets caught in the middle.
What does all this have to do with Nashville? Everything! Nashville is a product of two legacies, both of which have deep traditional and religious roots. But it was overlooked in the wake of political manuevers that don’t speak to anything that have to do with the the human condition. The first week of May proves poignantly that oil and water don’t mix. But if we believe in purity, water wins. Whether it’s holy or not remains to be seen.