Returning to my home today, I had radio station Cool 106.7 (WCDW) on my car radio. I like the tunes from the 1970s and 1980s best, but wonder why we no longer have 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s music? Golden oldies? What are we who like all that music dead now and there is “no one to listen?” Today, I heard a song I had never heard before and don’t know what era it was from. My bet is that it was 1980s or newer. The lyrics included, “don’t back down… stand your ground.”
I thought about such lyrics. Are such lyrics considered ambiguous because of the perspective of the person who listens or is there a common ground for such lyrics? These lyrics about “don’t back down” and “stand your ground,” to me, represent something for me personally. When I am trying to accomplish something I figure these lyrics represent being persistent in accomplishing a goal that has been set. I have been successful in being persistent and then being successful. The results were good for many people, not just for me. In fact, in one instance, my persistence in presenting to my home town school board an idea for hiring a vocal music teacher in the local high school after the separation of buildings created a rift in providing such a position. From the late 1950s until the 1970s, the school had gone from one school for grades K-12 to four different buildings, yet for the arts and culture, there were cutbacks in the education. Made no sense to me, as I would speak with those who had been in the one K-12 building and had more choices for education why there were so many cutbacks. Years later, I learned why. With four buildings it cost more to pay for staff to maintain the buildings so there was not enough money around to hire teachers for the education programs which were necessary. My grandfather, who taught languages in the K-12 building, caught the brunt of that as they curtailed his program. There was no tenure in those days to protect him. In effect, my persistence and working to “not back down” and “stand my ground” helped me in working to get education to advance in the arts, as well as to stop using the brand new vocal music room in a new school building as a “detention center.”
Was there a mathematics teacher or someone in another area who did not like me taking this stand? You bet. I was like an early 19th-Century New York State leader who recognized that building commerce in New York meant taking advantage of the flatlands from the Hudson to Lake Erie and building the Erie Canal. HE was scoffed at and his canal was deemed, “Clinton’s ditch.” Who was the one who proved it was correct to build an infrastructure in order to make New York the Empire State with, ultimately, one of the largest commercial centers in the world in New York City?
As a professor, I always advocated that education we call STEM should also include an “A” in the word and it should be education we call STEAM. STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. STEAM is Science, Engineering, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics. Perhaps the school district with one building for K-12 figured they needed to adjust to the embarassment about the Soviet Union sending Sputnik into the sky before America had a chance to do it? Thus, STEM is still more important than STEAM? Good grace, Gracie!
After living through the hell and chaos of Florida which was caused by a law pushed by Jeb Bush and the RPOF (Republican Party of Florida) which was called the “Stand your Ground Law,” I have to look at these lyrics in a different perspective. This law has become one in which white people of Florida embrace in order to murder black people. How gross can you get? Is this a return to the lynching parties of Jim Crow? Yeah, it turned out to be quite close. Was the white man who did not like the sound of rap music correct in “standing his ground” by using a gun to shoot a black man who was listening in his car to rap music on the radio? Was the idiocratic man in the movie theatre justified in shooting people who were talking to loud in the theatre? Were these justifications for the words of the song I heard today with lyrics of “don’t back down” and “stand your ground?”
I know how I think about such hatred. I know what I think about these aspects of the words. What do you think about such hatred? What is your perspective on all this? Is there something you can learn in my “teachable moment?” I hope so. America needs to begin learning again. Can I help out?