Saturday, November 3, 2012
OK, what rhymes with "Ohio?"
A songwriter should go to work writing a ballad about "Ohio" based on this state's importance in our electoral process. It seems too much attention is concentrated there. Does anyone think Ohio won't get a few government favors based on this importance?
My first familiarity with Ohio was probably through Ohio State football. Woody Hayes was their father figure-like coach. We all knew what side he was on in the generation gap. Ohio State is in the Big Ten which in my youth was rather depressing. Don Riley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press called it "The Big Two and the Little Eight." That's because seemingly every year, Ohio State and Michigan vied for the title and the coveted Rose Bowl berth.
Our U of M Gophers had some interesting individuals like Rick Upchurch but the Rose Bowl never seemed in the cards for us. Ohio State and Michigan were the true behemoths. It was the days when the running game tended to rule. Some of the top passing quarterbacks were relegated to relatively obscure programs. If you wanted to win you did so with "three yards and a cloud of dust."
Media people finally started needling coaches for talking about "establishing the running game."
"Establish the passing game!" Don Meredith implored one night from his booth for pro football.
Meredith would be delighted today. He may have died before his time because of the effects of football. He would smile seeing how the passing game has ascended at all levels, because people like it, it's good for TV ratings and that puts money in everyone's pockets.
"Money's honey my dear sonny and a rich man's joke is always funny." Come to think of it, a songwriter could take that phrase and do something with it. It would be what's called a "novelty song."
I was a songwriter once. If you enter that pastime, please do so because of its inherent rewards. Any other aspirations (fame, fortune) will leave you heartbroken. Or with a heartache, to use country music parlance. "Not tonight, I have a heartache." (I believe Martin Mull did this satire.)
Music can be intertwined with political campaigns. I'll never forget Robert F. Kennedy having the song "This Land is Your Land" become synonymous with his campaign. It's a Woody Guthrie song. Guthrie truly spoke for the masses. Charlie Crist had to apologize two years ago because his campaign used a song where adequate copyright clearance wasn't made. Hoo boy, you have to be aware of this stuff. Crist made a videotaped apology.
We are now on the threshold of the 2012 election. The campaigning has seemed never more tiresome. I don't blame that little girl talking about "Bronco Bama" in that current popular video clip. Tears stream down her cheek. I'm a man so I'm not supposed to cry. But I sure feel like singing the blues when coming back from the mailbox each afternoon and handling those flyers from Dutcher and McNamar. These fellows are running for the state House. I don't know why they can't just put their views on websites and not make us handle all that paper.
And why in heck - Don Riley always wrote "whyinell" - do they find it necessary to make these flyers so glitzy - slick and with color, graphics, the whole nine yards? Do they have to do this to get our attention? Why not basic text letters, you know, with sentences and paragraphs? They could actually explain a lot more this way. Instead they "take the long way around the barn," to quote the John Wayne character in "The Shootist."
Scott Dutcher pulls the kind of tricks you'd expect from the cynical Republicans, such as finding an unflattering photo of his opponent. Jay McNamar looks shady in these photos. It looks like a photo from a wanted poster. It's gray, dark and somewhat blurry. Of course McNamar isn't smiling. We can feel assured he's capable of smiling.
If you visit my websites much you'll know I'm a Democrat/progressive. But I'm not sure I'll even vote for McNamar. He seems too aligned with the teachers union. We even received a small McNamar flyer one day with some handwriting on it from a local teacher.
I wouldn't develop such a dim view of teachers' self-advocacy if I were a young person today. My views got hardened during the 1980s. Teachers crossed the line way too often back then, pursuing their interests in a scorched-earth type of way. I don't doubt that advocacy and conflict still exist today. But I sense it's much more internal, within a given school system and not spilling out into the broader community so much. Perhaps some laws or policies got tweaked to help this new sense of order come into play.
The old order seemed particularly hard on small outstate Minnesota communities. Most people in these towns accept their lot in life in a quiet and restrained way. Call it humility or civility. Teachers could be in your face with a brazenness I'd associate with big cities. It was culturally disruptive. We all like money and security. But as the Rolling Stones sang, "You can't always get what you want."
We like our quality of life out here in rural Minnesota even if we don't get rich. Teachers can fall into line. I can't simply put aside my memories regarding this. So I'll be voting for Mr. Dutcher.
My primary inclinations are progressive, though, so I'll be choosing "Bronco Bama." Mitt Romney is the definition of mendacity. The fact he even seems close is a troubling sign for our great nation. Chris Christie went through his cute little act of advocating for Romney at the GOP national convention, but now he needs the Federal government and "Bronco Bama." There's nothing like a disaster to make us appreciate the Democratic Party.
I hope it doesn't come down to Ohio. "Bronco Bama" ought to sweep the nation in a Reagan-esque way. We'll know soon. Ohio shouldn't spell our destiny any more than Ohio State and Michigan should play for the Big 10 title every year. Let's have a song about national unity and resolve. Hurricane Sandy may be pointing that way.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - email@example.com