“I really do believe there’s a heaven somewhere.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees for 2018 included Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, the Cars and Nina Simone. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was (posthumously) given the Early Influence award.

I did not get a vote.

Had I, I would not have included Bon Jovi. I would likewise not have voted for the Cars and probably not Dire Straits. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, I absolutely would have inducted as a full member. I would also have added Yes, the Doobie Brothers Joy Division (plus, New Order), ELO, Jim Croce, Hall and Oates Dick Dale, Talking Heads, INXS, and probably PJ Harvey.

You likely know all of them except for Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Know her.

A supremely gifted guitarist who died before most Americans were yet born, she inspired churchgoers, backsliders, black, white, Elvis, Brits, Jerry Lee Lewis, and countless others.

“There’s a heaven somewhere up above my head. Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

We undervalue pioneers, even still, excepting I suppose the handful that become fabulously wealthy.

You will not become fabulously wealthy.

This is the age of the destruction of everything, with the world changing so fully, so fastly, that soon the past will be as unknowable as the future.

And there will become a permanent global wandering class.

Hundreds of millions unable (some unwilling) to thrive within existing cultural, political and economic structures, and so they take to their driverless cars, using social media to interact, their hands and talents to craft, bitcoin to buy and sell, algorithms to barter, a marginalized but glaring presence, always about us, never considered.

Like the vagrants living on the streets of San Francisco.

Let’s talk now about government.

This post is not political.

Government is a consuming beast, benevolent when required or whenever mutually beneficial, but always demanding, always growing, like a shark that must keep swimming, but always always always it is seeking to devour independence, suspicious of all and whatever that might challenge its supremacy.

America presents a complication.

If the Bible is the inspired word of God, the Constitution is the inspired word of freedom.

The very structure of our government — along with our bill of rights — places hard, repeated limits on the unquenchable fire of government rapaciousness.

But they found a workaround.

Importing people and marginalizing others, creating a dependent class, tens of millions strong, ensures at least a high floor to government power.

The dependent simply aren’t going to challenge the government’s efforts to grow and take.

They found another workaround.

Government has become intertwined with the culture, such that no day, no moment can pass without our eyes and ears, at minimum, repeatedly and aggressively assaulted (or informed) of the government’s actions, demands and desires, and…by working very closely with those who control the culture’s entertainment, government can also now very easily, startlingly effectively, sanction thought, behavior and norms all while marginalizing and disempowering those who — witch-like — operate beyond its scope. In the crosshairs at present are many evangelical Christians, the last remaining hippies, and a few scattered others. 

Should such groups ever in any way threaten the  government’s glorification, the government simply goes after those groups, stripping them of freedoms, and forcing them to take on government in its realm — nearly always a losing proposition for the non-government side.

But we do have examples of those very few who fight in this arena — and win.

They do so almost always through the force of their talent, so great is it that it can’t be hidden away nor destroyed nor mocked nor denied. So great is its power that it changes people, changes their hearts, their minds, and alters reality, like Joshua’s trumpet, sound ripples that loosen the rungs, maybe even take down a column, possibly even damaging the foundation of all existing structures.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was one such talent.

“Up above my head, I hear music in the air.”

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