Election 2004 Essay (in easy to read installments)
Well, it’s election day, and in spite of the lackluster discourse (with some notable exceptions – my thanks to Carolyn Mabry for some intelligent comments) on this website regarding the campaign (It’s been limited to posts copied wholesale from someone else (usually a professional writer with a political agenda), snide remarks, sarcastic comments, and the occasional sexual innuendo – but what do you expect from us, we’re in a rock band), I figured I’d post something as a tribute to the epic bulletin board posts in the election four years ago. Has it really been that long? The conversations on the message boards last election year were pretty contentious even though the election was fairly straightforward – right up until the Floridian stealing of America part, and the banana republic part that we were forced to endure. This year it’s been the opposite, lots of contentious campaigning but not much of that has found its way onto this site. Perhaps that’s because people have figured out that we’re a lost cause due to our predominantly liberal views – hey we’re in a rock band, what did you expect… And why not? Liberty is good, so why not liberality? I think America has an inherently liberal bent. So being liberal is good. A lot of people would disagree, but usually those are the kind of people saying, “You can’t do that,” or “You can’t say that.” To that I say, “I refer you to my finger.”
I prefer freedom. Most of my friends, voters and nonvoters (and yes there are a lot of no-vote protesters) alike, prefer freedom. Get your spy cameras, your email snoops, your phone taps, your undercover cops, your black helicopter offa my back. This is America, my friends, my countrymen, and there are a lot of people out there trying to make in non-American, the perniciously avaricious authors of the Patriot Act being among the first and foremost on the list. America is the place where you CAN do things and you CAN say things without fear of the governmental reprisals. Only in recent years has this idea of neo social conservatism and air tight security begun subsuming the basic American ideals of freedom and individuality. We now have our social security cards, our drivers licenses, our FBI fingerprinting, our tax maps, our credit reports… Our entire lives are printed out on receipts and little plastic cards for perusal. This is all new and it’s a disturbing trend. Where is John Adams’s driver’s license, surely it must be on record at the Smithsonian, surely Washington’s credit rating is available for perusal in the National Archives. All this serves to make it easier for the government to keep tabs on people, which is something it’s not supposed to do anyway without “probable cause.” (That’s a Bill of Rights quotation if you’re wondering.)
Personally I WANT the government to have a hard time convicting me of some crime, mostly because I’m not a criminal and any crime that I’m accused of is trumped up governmental overreaching. Police want to have plenary power to impose absolute order on a society and a blank check to do all the legwork beforehand so they can just put the rubber stamp on in the end after they find something incriminating. It is the nature of police to police. I don’t trust the man with the rubber stamp. I don’t think the government should have it easy. I don’t want my name on some list out there because I happened to write an email containing the word “BOMB,” or because I espouse views contrary to the current vogue or those of the local police commissioner. It is inherently fucked that we pay the salaries of cops who are trained to regard every citizen as an enemy even when our prime directive in criminal matters is ‘Innocent until proven guilty.” Why must the enforcers continually assume everyone’s guilty that they just have to “catch them in the act” when everyone else is supposed to assume innocence? The catching someone in the act – speedtraps, sting operations, undercover vice squad – is also a method of limiting rights and freedoms, though no one really thinks about it as such. Part of American freedom is not having to worry that some screwball that’s been appointed by some screwball that got elected by a bare plurality is sneaking a look at me through my bathroom blinds or surreptitiously checking up on the books I checked out at the local library last week because they got a partial fingerprint somewhere in Indo-china where I’ve never been that they suspect is somehow terrorist related. I refer you to my middle fingerprint and you can record that for posterity.
Lets talk a little bit about America.
We might as well deal with the concept of patriotism first since I just mentioned the Patriot Act (in my opinion one of the most egregious misnomers yet). Some people would say that if you aren’t patriotic, you aren’t American. I would call those people enemies of freedom. The statement demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of what’s American. Americanism isn’t holding the party line, it isn’t maintaining the status quo at all costs, it isn’t doing what authority says. If it were, America would be a subsidiary of Britain. But it’s not. As things worked out, our forefathers had the balls to stand up and kick those tyrannical little aristocratic sissies out on their asses (no offense to the predominantly non-aristocratic British public who had no choice in the matter, if things had been fair they’d have kicked the sissies out of their country too, I’m sure). And so, this is the country where you’re SUPPOSED to think for yourself, you’re supposed to question authority. The system is designed for that and ONLY WORKS when people actively question authority and actively protest problems. It’s called democracy. I, for one, refuse to be branded un-American if I do not agree with the leadership and have the gonads to stand up and say it. It is my lot as an American to call it as I see it. It is my right to disagree, it is my responsibility to question questionable practices or stances that my supposedly elected officials hold and that are thereby imputed to me by way of their agency. If I did not, I would be un-American. And if I did not seek to revoke that agency in situations where the elected officials were misrepresenting my fellow citizens’ wishes, I would be remiss in my duties as a member of a democratic republic. In short, I would be un-American.
Some say that one must support the troops in order to be patriotic. In this specific situation I respond: what of supporting veterans? What of marginalizing and demeaning past service for the country and financing a smear campaign of an exemplary military record followed by exemplary American civil service? Anyone who would do that while requiring absolute and unwavering support for the military is a hypocrite and perhaps, to use one silly and small minded catchphrase only because it’s in vogue, a flip-flopper.
But basically, the problem with requiring support of troops is that in order to support the troops you must support the leadership. Any support for the troops is automatically imputed to the leadership and any distrust or failing of support for the leadership is automatically imputed to the troops as political philandering necessitates. It is a skillful misdirection, basically, and it dodges the entire foundational concept of America, which is that we are REQUIRED to question the leadership if we wish to sustain our democracy for when the people stop being involved in the political process, the process stops being democratic and devolves into a process that is despotic. That we are made to feel that we cannot question a leadership is an indication that the power and influence of “We the People” is already beginning to wane. I am a patriot to a country where the people are in power and liberty reigns. I refuse to be a patriot where a leader elected by a minority is in power. In short I am a nuanced patriot: an American patriot. And when my country ceases to be American in character, I will cease to be its patriot.
During this election campaign, since the rise of the so-called “neo-cons,” there has been a lot of disparagement of liberals. I’m not sure of the origin of this disparagement, but it’s rather disturbing if you think about it. The word “Liberty” shares the root as the word “Liberal.” Anyone who thinks that liberty is bad does not comprehend the underlying ideals of America and to be fair, no one has come out and say that liberty is bad, only that liberalism is bad. I think that’s a fine line, though and I will not be surprised to see it crossed soon, I believe it has already been crossed in action if not in rhetoric. I think that it is god to be liberal as well. My American Heritage dictionary defines a liberal as a person who is “open minded, tolerant, favoring civil and political liberties, democratic reforms and protection from arbitrary authority, generous, not strict or literal.” It sounds like a person that one might be considered a wise and good person, who one might want as a friend and who might make a good leader. On a political level, I believe that a liberal is someone who values freedom and is willing to stand up for it regardless of whether it a viewpoint coincides with his or her personal viewpoint. It is a principled stand that holds that there is something greater than just winning, that there is something that is there to strive for greater than victory by any means. Therefore, anyone who cannot at least respect a liberal viewpoint is missing a huge portion of what it is to be American. Knowing what I know about law, about history, and about the English language, I think that it sucks that people are trying to use “liberal” as a dirty word. It is inherently contradictory to the principles of free speech to use that sort of branding as a tool for social ostracization where the only effect is to chill political discourse and pigeonhole an opponent to win by default as opposed to on the merits. It’s like fighting dirty. For a president or government official of an democratic society based on idealized concepts of truth, justice, and fairness to do that is a de-facto control on free speech. That is directly contradictory to the American concepts of free speech and the importance of political discourse in determining the best path for the country.
America is a country of intelligent people. At least it is supposed to be. That was part of the reason that democracy came into being in the first place, we thought that we could all shoulder the burden of making an intelligent, informed choice. The founding fathers thought that this would be an effective check to make sure that people don’t get into power that don’t belong there or don’t have the credentials or intelligence to be there. (See The Federalist No 68) Therefore, good judgment is a requirement of a working democracy or republic. How it ever came to be that it is possible to make fun of a candidate for president because he’s intelligent, is beyond me. A leader, a representative should be intelligent, should be capable of incredibly complex thought and analysis, should have a masterful command of the language he’s speaking, should have the credentials to back it all up. I’m sorry, but anyone who does not see the wisdom in having a wise leader is an idiot. Bush, unfortunately believes that the figurehead of America should be “homey,” a “man of the people.” Simplicity is the hallmark of his personal style, snap judgments based on incomplete knowledge is his method of governance, and misinformation and outright lies intended to incite fear and bigotry are the tools by which he achieves his popularity. I suppose then, that I should not be perplexed that someone with such a style and methodology is willing to take a good trait, intelligence, and attempt to use it against his opponent in a negative way. Any good psychologist would observe that this sort of behavior is the classic modus operandi of an idiotic bully. --“You’re a NERD.”
One major issue in this campaign and for the last 3 years is the concept of preemptive war. Yes, of course America can strike preemptively, however there are principles of fairness and justice in American history and culture that cannot be ignored. Anyone who cannot recognize this should probably not be a citizen, let alone a leader. The concept of preemption is not a simple one in spite of what is being told to us by our incumbent president and his cohorts. Timeframe, situation, contingencies, allies, all factor in and require an extremely complex analysis that should take place in order to uphold the ideals of justice, truth, and fairness. Our leader has admitted that he’s disinclined to this sort of complex analysis and decision-making or any revision of his prior thinking. It’s almost a throwback to ancient times when a leader ruled by divine right and was considered infallible.
I saw a picture in Newsweek of a man holding a sign that said, “Once again God speaks through a Bush.” First off, I hope God isn’t that vapid and inarticulate. Secondly, I was operating under the impression, as I mentioned earlier, that the bill of rights, albeit watered down by our good friends, Rhenquist and Co., still took up a few pages at the end of the Constitution. Some would think that this rise of Christian ideals and morality in America is a good thing. I’m not going to debate the merits of various religion here, I have a different purpose for bringing this up. I’ve heard some say America’s a Christian Nation. I refer you to Amendment 1. That’s right. Very first line of your bill of rights. For those of you that don’t know it by rote it says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” And so, America is a secular nation. It is stated in the establishing document, our Constitution. How a secular nation ever got involved in a war that‘s been referred to as a Religious war, and ideological war, even a crusade, is a real mindfuck because it means that that, yes you guessed it, the Bill of Rights is dissolving right before our eyes. Take the idea that our government could basically attack a religious group within the United States and by virtue of defining them as terrorist, could hold them secretly and indefinitely if not just kill them outright. That’s what’s meant when someone says the word preemption in relation to terrorists.
Invading countries is an entirely different scenario. Can it be said that America should unilaterally decide to go into a region and eliminate a regime single-handedly? I’m sure it could be said, in fact it has been said and done. However, the Iraq debacle is basically a problem exactly because we did it on our own. If we’d had help, if we’d planned it, if we’d conferred with others instead of lying to them on the floor of the UN chambers, and thumbing our nose at them as we shipped out for Iraq, things might have been better, people might not dislike us as tourists, the world may have been safer and more friendly. Those are all might-have-beens. Instead we alienated our allies, the countries in the world that we are most closely aligned on a cultural level. Why do we hate the French now? Because we pissed them off and lied to their faces? Does that make sense? Is that a reason for us to hate them or does it sound backward to anyone else? This is what is meant by a Global Test that’s been bandied back and forth as some sort of a veto on American security. No, I’m sorry that’s not what it means. It means that you don’t go around sliding a stiletto between your friends’ ribs. You don’t lie to your allies; you don’t cheat them out of contracts; you don’t call them names when you can’t convince them. Besides, do we really want to be enemies with France who has “the bomb” for the sake of invading Iraq who quite obviously never did? With this calculus, things are obviously exponentially more complex and difficult in terms of preemption and unilateral action than that which was used to decide to invade Iraq originally. Any idiot can see that. Preemptive war is a tricky combination of clairvoyance, politics, diplomacy, and military deftness. You cannot blunder about shooting anything that moves, or you soon get a reputation as a bully, then a tyrant, then a despot of an empire that must fall. America’s leader must understand these subtleties if we are to continue to be successful on a global level.
One last thought: This is the land of the free, home of the brave. Not the home of the afraid. This is the primary reason that I have voted for Kerry. It pisses me off that our current incumbent leader is attempting to control America with fear, saying that if you vote for Kerry you will not be safe. This is not only a lie, it is a dangerous lie. It is a Machiavellian attempt at cowing the American people into being a supple and weakling mass of dithering ‘fraidy cats. I, for one am sick of the fear. I think that fear is a sign of weakness and anyone who makes our country afraid makes our country weak. Besides it’s just not healthy for someone to be afraid all the time.
Looking back over the past four years I think that the terrorists that brought down the WTC were victorious in a sense that reaches beyond the mere destruction of property and the massive carnage and loss in human life. In the sense that all Americans have lived with some level of gnawing fear ever since they have succeeded in their roles as terrorists. Our leader said that he would fight terror, instead he spreads terror, from the lips of our own leaders mouth, the ridiculous statement that he does not think that a soldier, a warrior, a statesman, and a senator, is able to protect America and therefore the people should be fearful of the outcome of the election. That is a form of sowing fear and terror and anyone who would do such a thing is arguably complicit in the terrorization of America. Elections should not be feared unless you are an incumbent president that has worn out his welcome.
As for myself, I did not find myself being afraid of terrorists. Likewise with this election, I have not felt fearful. I found myself angry. And when the terrorists were not caught I was angry with the people who couldn’t catch them. I was angry with the people who would give my girlfriend a bunch of shit when she tried to fly home from her American college to see her American parents and her American siblings in America. I was angry at the obviously failing of that system and the political system that gave us such ineptness. I was angry when I couldn’t find a job after graduating because the neo-cons were raiding the coffers and forcing the money upward into the already burgeoning executives’ wallets. I was angry at Ashcroft for being that asshole big brother, angry at Powell and Rumsfeld for lying to our allies, angry at Bush for smirking as he gave the State of the Union address in which he lied. If I had a chance I would refer them to my finger, neatly placed among all the other knuckles of my fist.
Basically, yeah, I’m pissed. I want my country to stop being so goddamn Orwellian. I want my money in my pocket, not lost in the mail as a check from the IRS. I want freedom and the American dream to be something more than a carrot held out in front of a mule-public on the corporate-treadmill for the Wallstreet-grindstone. I want something new. I want my country to not be a hotbed of fear and suspicion; I want opportunity and optimism to reign in America again. I want something positive to rise out of the ashes of the last generation’s failures and apathy; I’m weary of warming my sodden soul by the embers of my anger.
I voted for Kerry because I think he will offer a change in the psychology at the very least. In the event that he loses, I hope that Bush will be willing to take into account the desires of the other half of the voting public this time ‘round, unlike last time, and soothe the torn and polarized schisms, a problem that he helped create. It would be the responsible, the wise, and the American thing to do. But, given his record, I must admit my pessimism.
Here, Here Clint! Right on! I cannot tell you how your post has just turned my attitude on its heel. Thank you.
It is a Truth that what does not kill us makes us stronger. We will be stronger because of this. So let’s take some time to regroup but do so while remembering, we still have work to do. That’s just the way it is. So we must steal ourselves for this ongoing struggle.
George Washington once said: "As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality." He also said, "The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion".
Assuming the Bush Administration did win (and I’m still not sure about that. The pre-voting irregularities, which I documented extensively and plan to post here soon, were one issue, and then there was the voting intimidation in South Dakota on November 2nd where white men walked behind the back bumper of every vehicle belonging to a Native American Indian who'd come to vote and recorded their license plate, and then there were the 4,500 votes “accidentally lost” by voting machines in largely Democratic Carteret County right here in North Carolina because the machines only held 3,000 votes instead of the 10,000 each the election officials “thought” they held -- given the accumulation of these factors and the plethora of other dirty tricks we saw wielded, I would not be surprised to find out down the road that Kerry did NOT lose—just like Gore didn’t in 2000. I mean, if bumper stickers represent any kind of random sampling, I saw a lot more Kerry/Edwards than W’s during my travels around the South…) but, still, assuming they did win, we need to ask ourselves, "Why?"
Clint says that America is a country of intelligent people and this may be true but it is not a country of EDUCATED people. Our government, not unlike many of the governments in Africa right now, has a vested interest in keeping the populace Un-Educated. Uneducated people are easier to bend to your will. Uneducated people have more babies, keeping both babies and parents in poverty and increasing the uneducated, unskilled workforce of the future. Uneducated people are easier to force into positions of being cogs in capitalistic machines. They are cheap labor.
Enlightened societies do not give short shrift to their schools. In fact, many first world countries provide free college educations to their populations. We, on the other hand, have “No Child Left Behind”. I don’t know if ya’ll know any teachers but they HATE this. Some schools are even suing. I won’t go into it here because it’s long and complicated but the education president and his librarian wife are really screwing our young people right now. And they’re doing it with an eye to privatizing the entire educational system. Again, s'all about the money...
This election also saw the introduction of “Free Speech Zones”--a zone in which you could exercise your right to free speech. Friends, before 9-11, you could exercise your right to free speech pretty much anywhere you wanted to.
But, of course, not everyone’s right to free speech has been impinged. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and lots of other neoconservative mouthpiece blowhards say pretty much anything they want on their Republican-owned stations and no one sues them. Why? Well, it’s this weird little loophole in the law. See, if you lie often and blatantly enough, you can actually argue in a court of law that you’re not to be believed. You’re not news, you’re entertainment. That’s why I am so adamant that Fox News must relinquish the name “News” even more than they must give up the blatant lie of a tag line that they are “Fair and Balanced”.
But know this—WE HAVE NOT LOST THIS FIGHT!
There are two important things to remember here—One: Every fight for freedom in our country was started by a liberal, every one. The American Revolution, the abolition of slavery, women’s fight for the right to vote, the fight to educate people about sexually transmitted diseases, the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, the right of women to make their own decisions about their own bodies, the gay rights movement, the various peace movements, all of them. And Two: Each of these movements suffered significant and painful setbacks along the way but each has become, or is in the process of becoming, the NORM.
See, when we stretch the boundaries of our World Vision, when we expand another’s world view, it’s like stretching a piece of elastic. If you really, really stretch it, it never quite returns to its original shape. And if we keep stretching that elastic, pretty soon we’ll make these darned pants big enough to fit all of us!
So we still have work to do but we have some new fights to prepare for as well. Having an Independent Free and Fair Media is a huge issue in this country. Our Democracy depends on an electorate that can make an informed decision. As we saw in this election, he who controls the Media, controls the election. Separation of Church and State is another HUGE issue. Greed, on an individual, corporate and cultural level, is probably one of the biggest hurtles we face and, again, that greed is fostered and fed by a media sacrificing us to an ever hungrier capitalistic system that feeds on our inadequacies and fosters our misery so that they can sell us something (guns, clothes, food, drugs, policies, religion insert marketable widget here ____ ) to make us feel better.
The radical thinking of today is the norm of tomorrow. We must hang in there -- for our self esteem, for our piece of mind, for the others with whom we share this planet and for the generations that will follow us. We must be patient, understanding always that we can only evolve as fast as the least evolved of us, understanding always that the burden of tolerance falls to those of us who have the wider world view.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. " – George Bernhard Shaw
Now, I’d like to return to one of Clint’s other amazingly salient points ... and one of George Washington’s: "The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion". Here is where I get to practice MY tolerance.
I was brought up in a Southern Baptist family and sometimes I get emails forwarded to me that get me so fired up that flames actually shoot out of my ass! You should see my charred seat. I have to keep a fire extinguisher by my desk these days -- especially since the election! Over the past couple days, I have found myself in a state of barely controlled rage and, during those helpless, hapless, hopeless hours after the election, I penned a response to send to that next family forward. Here it is:
Dear Christian Relative,
Please do not forward me any more Christian propaganda. Over the course of my life and especially of this election, Christians have shown me who they really are and what their religion stands for and I have this to say... "Thanks, but no thanks". Your actions are so loud that I cannot hear what you're spouting. Your bullshit rhetoric does not sway me and pale in comparison to your actions. I do not wish to be exposed to it anymore.
Here's the truth no one speaks about Christianity. Christianity is not under siege. It's doing the sieging. This bigoted religion is nothing but institutionalized mythology. Sadly, these myths would be no more dangerous than your average bed time story if it were not for politicians (and the power hungry religious leaders who do their bidding) who consciously divert Christians from the various things politicians can and should be doing something about -- things like the economy, the environment, education and promoting the health and well being of the American people -- by introducing “wedge issues”. By wedge issues, I mean gay marriage, gay rights, Ten Commandments court cases, prayer in schools and abortion.
The hypocrisy of Christian Republicans drives me batty. The Republicans we’ve seen in this election, the Machiavellian ends-justify-the-means manipulaters, don't even come close to revering the Ten Commandments, just as they don't revere our constitution or "family values". In fact, they don't seem revere anything but the almighty dollar -- and they've convinced many (please convince me that it’s not MOST) Christians that it's in their best interest to pursue this greedy, self-serving path as well. After all, Jesus would want that.
I believe that the superstitions and legends that originally comprised organized Christian Religion had their origins in innocent ignorance and cautionary fables but they have now become one of the greatest obstacles to human progress that mankind has ever encountered. I am sick of it and I will not listen to another word.
Here's the deal—
1. The sacredness of life is not washed away simply by passing through the birth canal. If you believe that Life is sacred at conception, Life is still sacred in war, Life is still sacred on death row.
2. Stems cells are not more sacred than Iraqi children.
3. We do not have more to fear from two men who love each other than from terrorists.
If you want to convince me that Christianity is a religion of love, well you're gonna have to fucking show me. Because, frankly, I have seen very little EVIDENCE that Christianity is anything more than a tool to control the masses. And, more to the point, the only thing worse than the laws and taxes our government inflicts upon my physical body are the laws and condemnations that Christians would place on my very Soul. It's my soul. Keep your dirty mitts off it.
Organized religion is a sham, a crutch for weak-minded and/or greedy people, a political tool. Good people don't need a piece of 2,000 year old fiction to help them differentiate right from wrong. That's where those "family values" are supposed to come in. Please do not forward anything of this nature to me ever again.
"Religion prevents our children from having a rational education; religion prevents us from removing the fundamental causes of war; religion prevents us from teaching the ethic of scientific cooperation in place of the old fierce doctrines of sin and punishment. It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion." – Bertrand Russell
Now, that may be some of the most controversial stuff I’ve ever written but, friends, the Emperor is wearing no clothes! Now, now that I’ve caught my breath and I’m not so steamed anymore, I know I will not send this email to my family. I remember that most Christians are good people. I recall that organized religion CAN actually help us glimpse and sometimes grasp our spiritual selves. I let the tolerant liberal in me reemerge, even though I feel like I’ve been robbed AND had my ass kicked. But, still, I realize that I don’t have it as bad as those Christians. See, their whole religion has been hijacked -- they just don’t see it -- yet; just as my mother’s Republican party has also been hijacked. And they’ve been hijacked by the same group of people — Neoconservatives. They and their “rich, ruling class ideals” are the real enemy ... and it’s up to us to help these “spiritual people” return to their spiritual selves, free of the puppet strings of those who would victimize them too.
As much as I respect your opinion of this country and how it should be run (there are both things you and I agree and disagree about), the thing that hurts me the most is your statement about the soldiers sacrificing on your and my behalf. Granted, Brett and I are not in danger of being killed any random moment of any random day yet, but in less than a short 3 years, the two of us could find ourselves in a position where we will be asked to sacrifice our lives so the greater population of this country doesn't have to. Will our sacrifice mean nothing to you Clint? Whether you agree with this war or not (and I will give you my thoughts on the war another time), you should realize that the soldiers in Iraq went for the right reason—they love their country. Do you honestly think the average soldier over there had any say whether or not they went to Iraq (or anywhere for that matter)? To support the troops has nothing to do with the leadership—and by leadership I assume you mean Bush and the rest of Washington. Tonight, as you lie down in your soft bed and pull your warm blanket of security over your body, I hope—no I pray that you will be grateful—grateful for the everyday sacrifices Americans just like you and I are making—so you don’t have to.
With that said, how have you been? Cody? Everyone? I saw that you guys are playing on the 24th in Dover. That is the day I get off for Thanksgiving break. I would really like to come up and see you guys play if it’s all right with you? I know I could get a ride up to Dover fairly easily, but what are your plans after your show? Well, stay in touch and I look forward to hearing from you. Love you all.