Funkadelic – Maggot Brain: A Song Which Captures the Trump Era, by Mark Erickson

I’ve been thinking about lyrics to a song or an album that fits the current state of the nation with its new president. Like other politicians, Donald Trump made some bold pledges and promises on the campaign trail. He promised the return of manufacturing jobs to “Make America Great Again.” He wanted to tear up or renegotiate NAFTA, would not sign the TPP, and would seek to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Candidate Trump then signaled that Roe v. Wade could be overturned when he selected Governor Mike Pence (IN) as vice presidential running mate. He is one of the most rabid politicians against abortion, according to http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/27/14412660/mike-pence-record-abortion-reproductive-rights-march-for-life.

While Trump repeatedly touted the building of a wall across the Mexican border, he also spewed hate toward Muslims.

The opponent of the orange-skinned Oompa Loompa repeatedly warned Americans that her opponent did not have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief. On Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility. This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes because it’s not hard to image Donald Trump leading us into war because someone got under his very thin skin.” Then the Electoral College of the United States of America picked a former television celebrity for president.

I heard on the radio the other day – a CBS poll – that the public approval rating for departed President Barack Obama stood at 58%, which was third highest ever to only Presidents Clinton and Reagan. #43, unsurprisingly, had the lowest approval rating ever for a departing president at 22%. Also, President Donald Trump had the lowest incoming approval rating ever at 40%. In this connection, I have seen massive demonstrations in Washington and other cities, including airports, over the last two weeks.

I analyzed some Slayer lyrics due the band’s intense dislike of war, religion, and the government/politicians who conveniently invoke religion. Highly underrated singer, songwriter and guitarist Jerry Cantrell and his band Alice in Chains released “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” in 2013, which mocks the sect of extreme evangelicals who believe that since Mother Earth is only 6,000 years old, the Devil buried dinosaur bones in order to deceive mankind. (We know Trump courted the evangelical right.) In addition, I thought about Nine Inch Nails’ “Year Zero,” which is a tale about a police state and the impending Armegeddon under a U.S. government that fancies religious zealotism. “I pushed a button and elected him to office and he pushed a button and it dropped a bomb.” Nobel prizewinner, Bob Dylan, has some juicy lyrics too.

I decided to go with Funkadelic’s 1978 release, One Nation Under a Groove, because America is not united or grooving, and the album’s last song is called “Maggot Brain,” which appeared on an album of the same name seven years earlier. “Maggot Brain” begins with a long, mournful guitar solo full of despair. Here are the lyrics:

Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time, for y’all have knocked her up. I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe. I was not offended for I knew I had to rise above it all or drown in my own shit. Come on Maggot Brain. Go on Maggot Brain.

In his memoir, George Clinton wrote about those times: “Lots of soul and rock acts were engaging in social commentary at the time, as the hangover of Vietnam changed the way the nation thought about itself.” Yes, America needs to get its groove back, and 2016 represents the first time that Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers. We must watch over the next four years how the policies of this Administration 1) didn’t bring back manufacturing jobs to America, 2) through deregulation, exacerbated income inequality to the benefit of Wall Street, 3) made more enemies and, quite possibly, 4) led to additional military hostilities and “interventions” that increased the use of armaments and bloodshed (I certainly hope not!). When society witnesses so much greed, violence, and lost potential, we need to intervene and stimulate civic engagement. We need to rise up, organize, engage, and vote en masse in 2020. For a primer, begin with www.indivisibleguide.com.

Mark Erickson

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