While protest over fatal shooting in ferguson continue, more and more musicians choose to speak their mind. MODERN LIFE IS WAR‘s vocalist, Jeffrey Eaton, has posted the following:
I posted this earlier today from my personal Facebook page. While we have never been a band to push a specific political agenda, many of our songs are socially political and talk about class, justice and American life. The members of this band often disagree on various things. That is the way it should be, as we are all individuals. They support me and don’t attempt to censor me as the lyricist though we may have debates about them and about this. It felt wrong to not post something, because it directly relates to so many of our songs. So here goes. – Jeffrey
I’ve been glued to twitter and live streams of Ferguson since last Saturday Night when unarmed 18 year old Mike Brown was shot to death by a police officer. All week I have been hesitant to speak, trying to wrap my mind around the complexities of it all while watching the demonstrations, protests and clashes with police. Now it’s 4 am on Saturday Night and I can’t sleep because all I can do is think about it. I realize I will never have the perfect words so for now, I will let them spill out and explain why I must.
I have no specific authority to speak on the subject, but I’ve been writing lyrics about life in this country for over a decade now. I view it as a conversation from the perspective of an angry American with other angry Americans. Ferguson must be a part of that conversation because it’s so important and happening so close to home. I am only speaking to encourage us all to look at our lives and the world around us honestly and to go much deeper than the mass media or advertising world had planned for us. I only want for each of us to claim the dignity that we deserve.
So what can I say about it? At the very least I can say that I don’t condone murder, especially when committed by a person hired to serve and protect us and paid by for by our tax dollars. I can say that the burning anger in Ferguson goes far beyond looting and random violence. This is not a temper tantrum or an excuse. This is a symptom of the disease. I think the people out on the streets in Ferguson are fed up. I think they are tired of being marginalized and pushed down. They are morning the death of this young man, and are also very aware that his death has come to symbolize the disease. America is sick and we are angry. We want to be proud Americans, but we live under a shadow of shame. We don’t want our names on the bombs that burn the bodies of innocent people in the Middle East, but we know they are. We know we are not the world and we don’t want to be. Our America is our beautiful American music and the collective kind hardworking and independent spirit of the majority of our citizens. We know that no life is more valuable than another no matter where we were born or what color our skin is. Our leaders are not properly representing us and they do not have our best interests in mind. The endless war has not been justified to us and does not represent us. We feel more threatened than protected by the police. We are hostages to the dream. Our dignity, compassion and intelligence is being mocked by the actions of those in power.
Strong work ethic will hopefully result in a simple humble life. Striving for the security of the upper class may mean falling short and drowning in debt. Greed may give you your dream home and a luxury car, it will certainly give you Ferguson, Missouri and Flint, Michigan. No matter what side of which argument you identify with, you must admit that there must be winners and losers in the game we play in this country. There is not enough room for us all in the upper class. If there was there would be no one to keep the castles clean. Whether by choice, circumstance or failure, we find ourselves at the bottom of the dream.
And the questions… So who are these people? Am I really one of them? Have we done it to ourselves? Should we all put our heads down and shut our mouths, work harder to make more money to insulate our lives from the poor neighborhoods and the anger and struggle that exists within them? Should we focus on a handful of looters and ignore the justified anger? Should we ignore the disease? Should we be scared to speak because we are not experts on capitalism, law enforcement, health car and international politics? Does this country belong to us? Does the world belong to us? Do our lives belong to us? Should I expect to be mocked for identifying more closely with the angry people in the streets of Ferguson than with the silent sinking middle class? Should we hope that last night was the last night in the streets? Should the people go home and get back to work before catching the attention of the entire nation and the entire world? Is it worth it?
Most of us would prefer to sweep these confounding problems aside and keep enjoying the ride, but it’s becoming more and more clear than we need to stop and change directions. Netflix and alcohol are not enough to keep our minds off it and now it’s past 5 am on Sunday Morning and the sun is coming up on my humble street in Kansas City. I don’t want to deal with it but I know that I am a heartless coward if I do not face it, so I let the words spill out. This won’t be posted till I get some sleep and give myself a chance to remain silent and do my part in maintaining the status quo. America, we’ve been going the wrong way for a long time. Ferguson slammed on the brakes, howled and bit back when Mike Brown was brutally murdered last week. Monday morning did not mean getting back to the grind and the next Saturday Night was not about having a beer and a laugh. Each moment since his life ended has been about problems that can no longer be ignored.#Ferguson #mikebrown