Chris Saxman: Cold Fusion – Jazz Edition
He had seen the display on the XM Radio of a channel that had the word JAZZ on it and asked a simple question – “What’s that?”
Wishing I could hit the Google/Wikipedia button, I muttered something incoherent about musicians just playing together and creating music without a lot of structure. They just play their instruments. The kid’s nine, but I whiffed that answer big time.
I was relieved to see on the Wikipedia definition for Jazz that “Jazz can be difficult to define…” Sweet. Upon review, I got the first down – two weeks after the fact, but these days, I’ll take it. Big Time.
We have all been treated to a policy upchuck by the various candidates for president of these here United States on how to fix our economy. There is a lot of well thought out positions by just about all of the wannabes and even Obama. Since there is an equal amount of bovine based fertilizer as well, one cannot help but conclude that everyone is rowing, just not together or in the same direction. We are spinning in circles.
Improvisational jazz comes together when the musicians get each other in the music. It just happens or it doesn’t. The music works and is beautiful or they quickly move on to another shot at a polyrhythmic, syncopated journey into the soul.
What the candidates and Obama are missing is the beautiful narrative of America. America has long transcended all other nations due to its creation from nothing but a dream of freedom and opportunity.
Recall the greatest accomplishments of our nation and you can distill them all down to one or two simple words. The one that will always be used by even the most objective observer is freedom. From the landings at Cape Henry and Plymouth, to our Revolution/Articles of Confederation/Constitution to the Louisiana Purchase to the War of Union Aggression (a.k.a the Most Recent Unpleasantness a.k.a the Civil War) to the World Wars of the 20th Century to Women’s Suffrage to the Civil Rights Era and the Cold War, America is about one thing and one thing alone – freedom.
Or as Austin Powers would say “Freedom baby, yeah!”
And not just in the areas of political and military moments in history but also jazz and baseball and American football and Hollywood. The massive migrations of our people and boom rushes centered on jobs and economic prosperity and all were driven by an internal undefinable (maybe) human desire to lead lives according to our own dreams of a life to be lived well.
One would have thought that former history professor and former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich would have defaulted to this reality. For now, he seems content on rallying the troops and using the media as Quixotic windmill. He will not be the next president, but he above the others can focus Americans on America.
The candidates will offer positions and platitudinal speeches until financial attrition gives us the Republican version of the Final Four and we will be, finally, left with a choice of Obama or Not Obama.
Having recently dropped off our oldest for her freshman year at college a long 18 days ago, we understand full well the emotional and psychological angst of letting her go and watching her do it mostly on her own. How liberating and equally petrifying the last three weeks have been. The sniffles have long since dried up and the reports home are very encouraging.
Our American political class is like a helicoptering parent that simply cannot let go of the Americans they represent. Both parties honestly believe that their ideas, solutions and slogans are the correct path forward, but they continue to row without rhythm and syncopation. The resulting dead spin is a recession,not just in our economy, but deep within our soul. The Soul of America, freedom, is lost at sea.
Any search and rescue effort will take a very long time but it must begin with both parties unburdening the American people. They have to let go. We’ll be just fine and our economy will recover due to the collective desire of Americans seeking freedom, not the desire of the political class to control the outcome.
Like jazz, America and Americans are best when left alone to explore, create and produce according to our will. That cannot ever be managed or calculated or even given, it simply is.
Our governments, bless their hearts, did not create jazz or baseball or football or the movies or Google or Apple or the automobile or the airplane. We did.
When candidates speak they should do so with inspiration, aspiration and perspiration. Passion for freedom should replace extensive policy pronouncements. Speak to our soul. Loose it on the world again.
Create an agenda based solely on the freedom that burns deep within the human soul that was set free by our founders. Founders who rightly controlled the one impediment to our freedom – themselves.
Limited, separated and divided government works because it allows freedom, and by extension our economy, to expand. Not the other way around.
A lot like jazz.
Column by Chris Saxman