Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Neil Young, Stephen Stills No Longer Care About Four Dead in Ohio...And South Carolina...And Everywhere?

I always liked Neil Young and it doesn't matter that I've agreed with many of the causes he's supported. I have nothing against his album blasting Monsanto or his $100,000.00 donation in support of Vermont's GMO labeling law per this article. I've never enjoyed the sound of digital music compared to analog per his decision to remove his music from streaming services due to the sound quality - see this. I don't even mind that he complained about Donald Trump using "Keep On Rockin' in the Free World" in his presidential campaign launch. If the media coverage gets some young people to Google Neil Young and watch a few videos of the music that led to Pearl Jam then it's all well and good. But for the guy who co-wrote "Ohio" in outrage over the murder of four Kent State students by the National Guard, I'm left wondering, "Where is his outrage over the daily murder and brutalization of ordinary Americans by the police?"

Yes, daily. You can track the deaths here.

I didn't see any Neil Young headlines condemning the South Carolina police officer who gunned down the unarmed Ernest Slatterwhite or that the National Guard had orders to shoot to kill looters after Hurricane Katrina. In fact, in a recent Dan Rather interview with Stephen Stills, Young's former bandmate waxed proudly about his role in the protest song that shined the spotlight on the military, the police and the First Amendment - and just as proudly about writing "For What It's Worth", about police conduct during riot control.Yet Stills has been as absent as Young in speaking out against the rise of the police state, the militarization and federalization of neighborhood police forces, and their obvious disregard for our Constitutional rights. The fact that both Stills and Young continue to tour and are offered ample opportunity to talk to the media makes their silence even more deafening.

Sure, it's tough to stay angry about every issue that matters. But the situation is far more oppressive and dangerous today than in 1970 when four students were murdered and Young and Stills have a highly visible, credible platform to bring important attention to the issue. With police officers killing several people every day, surely they can divert some of their outrage from Starbucks, the Keystone XL Pipeline and streaming music?

I hope Mr. Young will remember not to wait 'til the mourning comes.

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