WHAT DO WE DO? CONFORM OR REBEL?
Iraq is just another debatable war raging right now, with the possibility of Afghanistan, India, and Iran becoming the next new fronts. What do we do? Conform or rebel? What about that a**hole in North Korea?
This country is again becoming polarized. On this issue of conformity versus rebellion, every American citizen must do his own soul searching as to where he or she draws the line for him/herself. The MC5 were undeniably rebellious. We were radicals, only in the sense of doing what we knew how to do, to defend our rights and privileges under the freedoms provided by this First Amendment. It became our calling, whether we liked it or not.
We were young and inexperienced. We fought with music, lyrics and emotional rhetoric, and the powers that be retaliated with censorship, FBI Surveillance, local police harassment, violence, tapped phones, numerous arrests of band members, infiltration by undercover cops, imprisonment of our manager John Sinclair, and ultimately arrests and prison sentences for many of our peers and friends. Once we committed, then the press exacerbated and embellished that commitment, there was no turning back. It was all out WAR.
The Vietnam war had to end, laws had to change, peace had to be restored, and equal rights had to finally be achieved to some degree of compromise. Out of conformity, and out of rebellion, we made changes together. We found new solutions together. Albeit not without some nagging growing pains though.
Me? Today? I am first and foremost a survivor. I am a very lucky and a very blessed man. It has been 37 years since my band the MC5 played our final show at the Grande Ballroom in December of 1972. Peering into that past from the auspicious vantage point of 20-20 hindsight, there are many life lessons I have learned.
As a surviving member, I have to be grateful to be alive given the numerous brushes with the police, the FBI, the court system, the revolutionary gangs, the racists, bigots and bullies who we had to physically fight at times to protect ourselves from physical harm.
More to come… Peace Brothers and Sisters.