What a wonderful world it would be
I went to my first Rolling Stones concert on August 22, 2019, at the rambunctious Rose Bowl.
But this isn’t about the concert, per se. I mean, the set list was everything one could hope for. I want to be like Sir Mick when I’m 75, prancing around the stage with boundless energy.
No, this is about what went on in the stands.
This is about the vato loco who went to his seat with his ruca in the row right beneath me. About how he looked at me, smiled, and gave me a fist bump.
This is about the mom and daughter behind us. We were settled in, and out of nowhere, they offered me and my party drags off of their joint. And we partook. And then when we were hitting the pipe, I made sure they had some.
This is about the people I went with. The Gaybrarian and his two longtime friends. One, Dave, was the one who clued that Gaybrarian in that, dude, you’re gay. I had met him once before, when we went to Trois Mec, which won an honorable mention as Michelin made its way back to Southern California, and they were all sick, except for me. At the end of the night, as I dropped them off at the Gaybrarian’s house, he came around to the driver’s side, and gave me a kiss on the cheek, and said “You’re a good ‘not-gay gay’.”
This is about, “Jesus Christ, people, can’t we all get along??”
This is about 70,000 people gathered together, many not old enough to remember the Stones’ 1970s and 1980s heyday, singing all the old classics, communing as one organism.
This is about, “What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.”
The powers and principalities against whom we struggle seek to separate us. To tell us to fear the Other. But the Other is us. The Other is within us. We are all the Other, in one sense or another. None of us are pure. And if we realized this, that there is no such thing as a “real American”, we may just begin to bridge the divides which artificially separate us.
I was going to write this piece right after the show, right when I got home. But I was high, and tipsy, and I needed to think about it.
As Satchmo sings, what if we weren’t divided by fripperies and artificial things? What if we recognized each other’s humanity? What if we recognized that we are all children of this Universe, not one more special than the other, but all special in the glow of starlight?
I know, I’m releasing my inner hippy. But, at some point, for this human species to survive, we have to experience what I did at the Stones show. That we are not isolated, but a multitude. That we are not singular, but are one. That we are all part of one immense community, one community which has to sustain itself, and nurture itself, and propagate itself.
The politics of the future has to be based on this. Not nationally, but globally. The crises we face are too huge for one city, or one state, or one region, or one nation. We see this in the Amazon burning. The Earth’s lungs are going up in smoke. This isn’t something germane solely to Brazil. We all suffer. And we all benefit when we act in concert.
As anyone who reads me on this blog knows, I’m a stalwart fan of the seminal television series “Babylon 5”. And its voice, its conscience, was the character of G’Kar. As we start this week after the holiday, I leave you with the words written for him. We are one.
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