December 14, 2006

It Don't Matter To The Sun

It's a tune from a Garth Brooks album but it's not country. In fact nothing on the album was; it was R&B/Soul. Poppish yes but R&B/Soul nonetheless. (I played a few tracks off the album to some guys in an R&B band I was playing in when it came out. They thought the tunes were solid & even talked about doing a few of them. When they asked who it was & I told them they didn't believe me until I showed them the album cover - & they had to read the credits before accepting it!) The album was called Garth Brooks in...The Life of Chris Gaines. The album has an interesting history as it was supposed to be a pre-soundtrack for a movie but it's been shelved. Shame as it seemed like an interesting idea. Here's a vid of Rosie Thomas doing the tune (though it's nowhere near as good a performance as Brooks' - really almost horrible in comparison but it'll give you a goo didea of the song itself). Here are the lyrics.

In any event the song is a sweet little ballad that explores an interesting theme in music & literature. Here's the first verse:

"It don't matter to the sun
If you go or if you stay
You know the sun is gonna rise
And shine down on another day
There'll still be a tomorrow
Even if you choose to leave
'Cause it don't matter to the sun, oh baby
It matters to me"

See what I'm getting at? If his lover leaves him nothing in the world will change; no monumental event will occur; no worldwide shockwave will result. It'd only matter to him & no one else (maybe not even to her). That concept was taught to me by a very impressive English Lit teacher as "the indifference of the universe". One of the short stories she used to stress that point was Jack London's To Build A Fire (the full text of To Build A Fire is available here & I do recommend reading it as it's a great short story).

The song talks about a loss of love. The short story talks about the loss of life. This post will discuss the loss of freedom.

Grief, pain & many other things predominantly emotional are relative. If an anonymous 70 year old in Bulgaria dies in his sleep that's not going to effect me as much as if my littlest sister dies in a car wreck. Similarly my littlest sister's well being won't matter much to the grandchildren of that hypothetical 70 year old Bulgarian. & in the greater scheme of things neither event will matter to the world at large. The sun will rise & fall as will the moon & tides. Politics will go on as usual & little will be effected by the passing of one more life or the creation of one more sorrow. That is the indifference of the universe. The heavens & the earth mourn for no person, nor do they even acknowledge a person's passing, let alone the little things that happen between birth & death.

All three types of loss mentioned above are unremarkable events in the grand scheme of things. I guarantee you that if the Spartans had not held the Persians at Thermopylae & western democracy as we know it had never came about that nothing material in this world or this galaxy would have changed one bit. If we all gave up our arms tomorrow & acquiesced to the notion that we were property of the state then 1,000 years from now not a single mountain will have sprang up or fallen down in deference to our actions.

The universe simply doesn't care. But to quote again from the song:

"Cause it don't matter to the sun, oh baby
It matters to me"

We care. It matters to us. Whether or not it effects the tides or causes more sunlight to beam down on us it means a great deal for us to be free.

But there's the relativity thing to deal with. You & I see possession of arms for example as an indication of our freedom. If nothing else we see it as a tool to regain what freedom we think we've lost. But our opponents do not view things in such a light. Our freedom in this regard is as distant as that hypothetical 70 year old Bulgarian who passed gently into that good night. Schumer, DiFi et al are not moved at the thought of you or I being defenseless. They're well protected & out of touch with the realities than many of us live in. They do not care. To be fair you can throw Dewine, Bush & a bunch of other Republicans in with the Schumers & DiFi's of the world. They've got theirs & to hell with us getting ours (so to speak type).

& I'll admit that I'm not much different. If there was a practical way I could have my weapons even if it meant you would have none then I'd not lose much sleep over your predicament*. But I cannot see any way for me to be armed without you being able to be armed as well & therefore I advocate for "us" rather than just myself. (*Actually even though I've recently realized what a selfish bastard I can be I don't think I'm that selfish but for my purposes here it's close enough to accurate).

That's something we have to realize; we're not going to sway the stars into being compassionate about our cause. We have little chance of being more effective in reasoning with the Schumer, DiFi et al types. We're in this alone & there's little chance of converting our enemies. Our success will lie solely in how effective we are at convincing those in the middle. & we have our work cut out for us.

But this post isn't meant to be a great rallying plea, or a call for an evangelical movement. It's meant to point out that our efforts only matter to us & those we care for. The average New Yorker will not appreciate any successes we have any more than they'll be giddy over the repeal of a law that criminalized importation of certain orchids.

Did you pass a test this week? Get a promotion at work? Did your lover accept your proposal? The average New Yorker** will smile at that more readily than if you helped get the "sporting purposes" requirement of the GCA repealed. But I'll damn skippy buy you a beverage the next time we meet over the accomplishment of any of the above, especially the latter. That's because those things matter to me. (** I'm just picking on "the average New Yorker" because they're residents of a state very close to America, so if you're from New York don't take it personal - just escape to America if ya can :D ).

So to recap I think the enemy is mainly motivated (at the higher strategic levels of their camp) to disarm us because an armed person can resist the will of the collective. Further I think they're indifferent to our pragmatic reasons for being armed. They simply don't care. Where that leaves us is exactly where we were before; on our own.

Sure, there are as many as 140 million gun owners in the u.S. (estimated) but only about 5% even belong to any pro-gun group (& by counting the NRA as a pro-gun group I hope you'll realize I'm being generous). There are probably a few tens of thousands of us who are politically active about the issue. I'd wager that if you took all the politically active gun owners in America & put them in New Hampshire we might be able to influence an election or two. Might. There could & should be a lot more of us but there isn't.

This post isn't to warn you of doom with cries of all being lost either. Samuel Adams is said to have said, "It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men".

So by no means is all lost. It is important to know where we stand & most importantly why we stand. It's necessary to know what motivates those who oppose us & what we can or cannot do about that. Any experienced combat leader will tell you that it's almost as important to know your enemy as it is to know the terrain on which you fight. This is applicable to ideological & political battles as well.

In our world we are surrounded by indifference at best. If someone does not actively oppose us there's a greater chance of them simply having no interest than in being in our corner (which is conversely true for our enemies as well). We should try to show people the light whenever we can but we should realize that for the most part the rest of the world is indifferent if not in direct opposition to us.

But a few tens of thousands along with a few hundreds of thousands that could swing actively to our side is enough. Or could be. So go out & set some brushfires in people's minds, cause if you don't do it no one else will. If you don't care enough to put forth any effort for your own freedom then why should anyone else? We cannot rely on predestination or the notion that if something was meant to be then it will be, or the idea that someone else will do our work for us. If we want something in this life we must make efforts towards that goal ourselves or simply abandon that goal. Fate will not step in & give us all we wish nor will anyone else speak in our stead. It's up to us & the efforts we put into it.

& as I mentioned in that earlier linked piece, while I speak specifically of arms that's just a front in a broader theater. The real object is freedom of the individual. Don't lose sight of that.

I'll end this with another verse from the song, both because it has nice lines & hopefully it'll drive home the point that it only matters to us, therefore we are the only ones who will do anything about it. After all if the singer didn't care enough to tell his lover about his feelings then how could he have expected anyone else to speak up for him?

"It don't matter the moon
If you're not in my life
No the moon will just keep hangin' 'round, hangin' 'round
Like it's just another night
Find another place to shine down
On some other lovers' dreams
'Cause it don't matter the moon, oh baby
But it sure do matter to me
No it don't matter to the moon, oh baby
But it matters to me"

Posted by Publicola at December 14, 2006 06:07 AM | TrackBack