The legacy of America is the blending of black, white and Native American into a whole greater than its individual parts. The music of America is perhaps its greatest export.
It was built upon the foundation of slaves, poor southern whites, Native American rituals and aristocratic European immigrants. Jazz is America's classical music and it was the first export to give the rest of the world a sense of what America is and what it could potentially represent for the rest of the world.
Over the last several weeks, two controversies have exposed the ugly, hidden reality in much of American society. Michael Richards' comedy club rant exposed racism against blacks and the film satire "Borat" exposed anti-Semitism. While it is easy to castigate Richards' judgment or the fools in Borat, it is not so easy to recognize that the heart of the nation is still haunted by its racial past.
Last week's election results were an indictment on the way the religious right influenced the Bush administration. The entire American Christian community, whether they agreed with the religious right or not, are now held under more suspicion than at any other point in American history. In fact, Ted Haggard's ironic fall, which involved his resignation as pastor after accusations of purchasing drugs and involvement in a homosexual relationship just before election week was symbolic of the religious right's future in American politics.
The recent revelation of sexual misconduct and drug abuse on the part of Rev. Ted Haggard is a tragedy - not only for him and his family but also for American Christianity as well.Though many Christians - including myself - disagreed with his political beliefs, that doesn't mean his fall was any less calamitous. His fall is an unfortunate example of lofty spiritual ideals being toppled by the sordid reality of the dark side of life.
In previous columns, I have urged students to break out of their comfort zones and embrace the possibility of a more diverse university. I also pointed out both the moral rightness and social necessity of integration for the future of the nation.What I have yet to point out are the personal risks involved in taking steps toward a harmonious, multicultural society. The reality is that many who choose to cross cultural boundaries will have to endure misunderstanding not only from the cultures they seek to embrace but also from the cultures they're from.
Life is a series of uncertainties. When you think you have one thing figured out, circumstances come along that make you realize you've figured out nothing. You go to a university to learn how to make a living and realize, through a series of events, you haven't figured out your life at all. These experiences are common in the lives of college students - and if you haven't experienced it yet, rest assured, you will.As a graduate student, I have learned things I wish I had learned as an undergraduate. I don't mean in the area of academics but in the area of life.
A new movie opened a few weeks ago titled "The U.S. vs. John Lennon." It is about the Nixon Administration's attempt to essentially kick John Lennon and Yoko Ono out of the United States for their views on the Vietnam War. The parallels between the early 1970s and now are obvious, which makes the film all the more relevant. What is not as obvious, however, is the contrast between Lennon the hero figure of the movie and Lennon the real human being.Since his murder in 1980, Lennon has attained mythic status in rock history.
Popular music has lost its soul. I don't mean that it's no longer good or appealing; I simply mean it's lost its sense of revelation.Modern radio has successfully emasculated the heart and soul from a song. The few times I do feel that apocalyptic sense of danger in popular music is when one of the greats from the past, such as Bob Dylan with his new album, "Modern Times," reminds us of what has been missing.
Nowadays, however, hearing an entire album of heart-revealing music is becoming just as rare as hearing such a song on the radio.
The war on terror has been the United States' global battle for the past five years. While it is debatable whether the United States is winning the war, it has no doubt dominated our national attention.There is another war, however, that has been going on for ages and has been all but ignored by the general public: the war on poverty.
It is reprehensible to imagine the amount of resources we waste that could be used to help eliminate poverty.