Concert Review & Editorial Opinion

Crosby, Stills & Nash

9/11, 2005

Photograph (C) Jeffrey C Johnson

I attended a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert at the Los Angeles County Fair this evening. A half hour into the concert the band was singing one of the anthems from 1969, "LONG TIME GONE", when I was asked to leave the venue for having a "professional like camera". The nervous security-official told me that "it was the band's policy". Time has changed this group of icons, they might as well be holes in the Albert Hall.

Folks, freedom is being crushed in a vice of political correctness and it's time to speak out. Freedom, such as it was, is almost gone for good. Here is a summary of the lyrics from that 1969 hallmark song:

      It's been a long time comin'
      It's goin' to be a Long Time Gone.
      Turn, turn any corner.
      Hear, you must hear what the people say.
      Speak out, you got to speak out against the madness,
      you got to speak your mind, if you dare.

That was written during the Vietnam war, a time when governments were suppressing free speech and the youth of the world were protesting war and bigotry. Here we are 36 years later and the same songs are being sung, but now the original authors are the ones suppressing freedom.

These old men can no longer sing, they sound like a pack of howling dogs. Most of the old folks in the audience were happy to relive old memories and they didn't notice that no one laughed at the drug jokes made on stage; that's not acceptable today. No one commented on how badly they sang; it's not okay to say anything critical today. No one is willing to speak out about "no camera" rules, but I will, because I remember what freedom was.

I remember when freedom was something you earned. You earned it by minding your own business and being respectful to others. You earned it by working hard and paying your own way. I remember being able to go anywhere in my country with complete freedom as long as I respected the people and culture of the towns I visited across the United States of America. That's the way it was.

That freedom no longer exists. I have to show a picture ID to use the season pass I purchased for the county fair. The backpack and camera bag on my wheelchair gets inspected at the gates; coat, gloves, headphones, iPod, pen, paper, camera gear. Everyone is now a criminal or terrorist until proven otherwise in the eyes of the authorities. People are suspicious of people because they are told to be suspicious.

American society is so repressed that the politicians are being allowed to simply point fingers and complain at the lack of humane action in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The democratic Clinton administration closed the American military bases and sent trucks, ships, helicopters, and planes to land fills. The republican Bush Sr. administration set it all in motion and Bush Jr. finished it off. Everything is blamed on 9/11 when in fact 9/11 was simply an event waiting to happen.

If Americans and citizens of other countries had stood up against the "everything for free" and "it's all good" political mentality the world would be very different today. In the USA Gulf Coast we would have seen thousands of helicopters and hundreds of thousands of troops, saving and feeding people, and carrying out the weak and wounded on their backs. That didn't happen because our military has been compromised. The remainder has been sent to wage war in other lands. No one is willing to stand up and speak of that truth; that the American Presidents and their respective political goons are to blame for our inability to protect and rescue ourselves. Congresses, Parliaments, all the same. Waging fingers, sharp tongues, lots of cops, and very little action.

Societies are now 100% repressed, afraid to speak out, afraid to stand up and speak out against the new police states around the world. We are all being monitored, on the internet and in public; George Orwell barely scratched the surface. I was riding a metro train in Los Angeles a few months ago when a Sheriff jumped aboard, hand on gun, and screamed "TICKETS, PASSES OR IDENTIFICATION!" Throughout history people have fought against this kind of oppression and yet here we are, history repeats like a broken record.

I cried the blues when I became disabled a few years ago and could no longer write software or play my drums. I got over it...there is no life in feeling sorry for yourself. Since then I have found joy and creativity through photography, a hobby that has rejuvenated my spirit and reawakened my soul. That joy was replaced with a deep sadness tonight, a sadness for the loss of freedom.

Freedom is an idea that did not stand the test of time. Freedom was a long time coming. Freedom is just a word. Freedom will be a long time gone.

Welcome to the new world order, it's time to sing the Blues.

Copyright (c) 2005 Jeffrey C. Johnson All Rights Reserved Worldwide