What a night, what a beautiful night. People came together at the Balboa Theater to celebrate the sounds of freedom and the seventies in a way that warmed the hearts of all present. Billed as a “Yes on 62” rally, there was no way I was going to miss this show.
Quintessential Californian, Jackson Browne, gathered us all together to rally the base of the intellectuals, the religious and the celebrators of the sanctity of life, to address this ancient practice that all civilized nations in the Western world have denounced as inhumane. What a beautiful way for like-minded people to get together to celebrate humanism.
The music was soulful, intimate and meaningful. The words were powerful, connected and thoughtful. The mood was buoyant, hopeful and ecstatic. The crowd was attentive, united and together.
The issue brought all the people in the room to a finite point. We’re not gonna take it, this murdering of souls and spirits. It was the way rock and roll was meant to be presented. It called for change, it called for action, it roused the essence and people left feeling like they had the power and that we are on a cusp of making a huge difference. Not just for the individuals tortured on death row, but as a message to the world.
I’ve always wanted my music icons to use their platform to bring about meaningful change in our systems. Jackson Browne knows how to do this. Steve Earle embraces this responsibility. The concert was a great success. We all got the message.
Of course the music by Jackson and Steve was amazing and relative to the theme of the night. Of course almost everyone there agreed with “Yes on 62” (there was only one person I could ascertain that had problems with the night’s agenda, and she would have blown a 0.16). Of course as a nation made up primarily of Christians, one of whose main tenants is not to kill, America has been slowly coming to it’s senses in regards to the death penalty.
The infatuation with an eye for an eye, gun rights and the way violence is such a part of our daily lives (on tv, in the news, in our country’s frustrated anger and the way we often speak about others) is growing old and tiresome. The way other counties look at America and it’s killing of each other and prisoners must come to an end. It’s difficult to live in a country that willfully participates in killing its citizens, while at the same time knowing that uncertainty is a possibility in many of the cases of capital punishment. The gross injustices the state perpetuates makes us no better than someone who does actually kill.
Repealing the death penalty has been critical to our country for years and we finally seem to have reached a tipping point. Ending this barbaric and medieval practice has been a goal/challenge of mine since growing up in Texas as a youth. Texas seems to be the United States version of Saudi Arabia in the way that they kill inmates and it has always struck me as a sickening and terrible aspect of our nation state. As a child, I could’t believe that the state would punish a person for murder by murdering someone! As an adult, this belief grew into outrage. Following the Innocence Project and watching as DNA exonerates supposed killers, the public has been pushed to accept the reality that the state has killed incorrectly in the name of justice.