You don’t need me to tell you that sitting members of Congress are talking openly about the myth of “white genocide.” You don’t need me to tell you that the president is sending troops to the southern border. That he’s talking about ending birthright citizenship — and that instead of scornful laughter, his insane proposal is being met with thoughtful chin-stroking.
You don’t need me to tell you that means.
You don’t need me to tell you to vote.
When I was younger, I used to read histories of the Spanish Inquisition, of fascist Germany, of the Khmer Rouge, and think: How the hell does this happen? How does an entire nation just lose its goddam mind and start tearing itself to pieces? As the Rwandan genocide unfolded, as the former Yugoslavia disintegrated into ethnic barbarism, I thought: How did it ever get to this point? do neighbors turn on neighbors like that? Why didn’t anybody step up and stop it?
That’s us. We’re “anybody.” And it’s time for us to step up.
Time to face facts: America has lost its goddam mind. Lost it a long time ago, in fact — right around the turn of the millennium — but the downward spiral has accelerated. The damage may be just about reversible, if we work our asses and off and do what’s right.
But a lot of us are thinking that this may be our very last chance.
We don’t want to believe that.
But we’ve been right before, and lived to regret it.
Download the full 2018 mix (1:20:20).
Download the full 2016 mix (1:18:37). Read the 2016 essay here.
Download the full 2012 mix (1:20:51). Read the 2012 essay here.
opening montage: a nation loses its mind
This Is America – Childish Gambino
If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next – Manic Street Preachers
Today I Died Again – Simple Minds
President Gas (edit) – Psychedelic Furs
Liar – Rollins Band
Atom Bomb – Fluke
Freedom Is Free – Chicano Batman
So Afraid of the Russians (edit) – Made For TV
Lawyers, Guns, and Money – Warren Zevon
Stool Pigeon (edit) – Kid Creole and the Coconuts
Dad, I’m In Jail – Was (Not Was)
(Working for the) Clampdown – The Clash
The Refugee – U2
Border Song (Holy Moses) – Aretha Franklin
Fight Like A Girl – Zolita
Takin’ It to the Streets – The Doobie Bros.
What’s Your Badge Number? – Elders of Zion
Through Being Cool – Devo
Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) – Angélique Kidjo
Big Brother (edit) – David Bowie
When Will You Die? – They Might Be Giants
coda: Lift Every Voice and Sing – Ray Charles