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Lang Lang

Performances

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

It’s Wednesday. For some reason, I think of Wednesday’s child, full of woe. And I’ve just glanced up and out to see large snowflakes dancing between the two towers of my complex, swirling indecision, whether to rest or continue performing.

Last night I went to a Lang Lang concert. The moment the artist touched the Steinway, I felt as if he were touching me. Lang Lang is his piano, is his music, and he makes love with himself, the air he breathes, the stage, his audience. His face expresses both rapture and playfulness.

I scanned the crowd during intermission, wondering if others present were obsessing on contrasts, the beauty of a concert hall’s music vs. the dissonance of violence throughout the world.

Later at home, I reread emails. Some from reader P who’s become my dear E-pal. Early on, she’d written that she wanted to be among the Sheeple again, able to trust the government to represent her interests. I responded that once you know the truth, you can’t return to conformity. Now, she sends articles daily, and most of them lately have been about the NSA’s invasion and occupation.

Here’s a story from P that arrived this week: She was at the library where she noticed a computer class. P made inquires and was told “genealogy using Google.” She asked the librarian if anyone had warned the students that everything they read is tracked, collected, and stored. When she received that look, the one I see so often that conveys, “What are you talking about?” or “You’re nuts”, P discontinued the conversation. She ended her message to me with this:

Should we spoil the world the Sheeple inhabit? It’s rather cruel and maybe sour grapes because it’s so difficult to be one again. Obama’s trips down murder row each Tuesday couldn’t take place without his illegal wiretapping program, the drones and the wiretapping are all part and parcel of the war crimes involved in a war Obama could stop by signing a piece of paper.

The distillate of the exchanges I have with P is that we discuss problems and bitch to each other, yet we have no answers.

Here’s a recent solution from North Carolina:

On February 8th, about 80,000 people marched in Raleigh, calling for a moral revolution. The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP said, “This moral march inaugurates a fresh year of grassroots empowerment, voter education, litigation and nonviolent direct action.”

Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is engaging in the same thing over and over and expecting different results. People gather to feel better, as if to say, “I’m at least doing something.” They stand, talk, march, carry signs, express enthusiasm, hope. And then go home. I know. I’ve done this many times, focusing attention on a criminal government’s politicians, men and women who are pawns of Wall Street.

It’s essential we recognize and analyze the enemy or enemies. One is our own ignorance. That we’re lured to the voting booth by a wedge issue and vote for the candidate perceived as the lesser of two evils—someone who’ll take an oath, preside over insidious foreign and domestic policies that benefit the filthy wealthy, expand war, drone families, add names to a Kill List—in other words, a person endowed with evil.

Lang Lang sits at a majestic instrument passionately sharing his gift. I wonder if the executively powerful Barack Obama feels something similar as he checks that piece of paper—and uses his pen to perform a dirge.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com.