Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Three P's

My new book, Teach Like It’s Music, is filled with chapters like: The 3D’s. The 4-H Club. These handy little summaries that speak volumes. 


So now I’m looking for a place to talk about the 3 P’s, especially since they are causing so much havoc. And have forever. Short version: What drives so much evil-doing? By naming it out loud, being alert as to its presence, calling it by it’s true name when it comes disguised, might we perhaps diminish a little of its capacity to do harm? When watching the news or listening to politicians or thinking about decisions being made, keep this handy-dandy guide close at hand as to what’s behind it all. The 3 P’s—Profit, Privilege, Power.


Profit: The whistle-blower movies I love when a meek David goes up against the Goliath of corporate wealth have one thing in common: people in the corporation are aware that they are doing something harmful—think the tobacco industry, nuclear power plants, the Catholic Church, what have you— but are reluctant (to put it mildly) to stop because they are profitting tremendously from addicting smokers, polluting rivers, endangering health, protecting priests. And so comes the cover-up where money trumps morals—and that verb is now doubly expressive. 


Privilege: When people are granted unearned privilege, they will go to any lengths to protect it. That’s the entire driving force of White Supremacy, male dominance, national patriotism and so on. People born on third base will push the narrative that they hit a triple through their own hard work and training and everyone else is lazy and untalented.   

Power: People who base their identity on the power they wield over others will sell their soul to maintain that power. Witness the circus of scrambling Republicans trying to dismiss, spin, ignore, deride, excuse the clear facts of someone who has overreached the powers granted through the electoral process, someone who clearly (read the transcript!) desecrated his Constitutional Oath to try to maintain his power by any means necessary—including help from the Ukraine or Russia or North Korea or what have you. 

The more people wake up to the charade of words that disguise the obvious motives of profit, privilege and power, the less power those lies have. The good-faith part of myself would like to convince those 3P people to be better versions of themselves, but the realist in me knows that people who spend a lifetime building the narrative that these are the things that matter, whose very identity is based on making money, feeling superior and lording over others aren’t about to change. But as long as democracy is still breathing—even if it be wheezing and gasping— we can keep waking up those who are neither saints nor sinners to at least notice when the Emperor has no clothes and gather a tiny amount of courage to say it out loud. Or at least say it by voting. That’s one of the ways we can turn things around, indeed, already are turning things around—witness Virginia and Kentucky. 

So people, keep your 3P crap-detector radar alert and see you at the polls. 

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