Peace Jam Impressions
Well, let me begin by saying that having a 3 year old with you is not the best way to give musicians your full attention. However, we really did have a great time down in Middletown. I got to finally meet Dana Garret and hung out with Mike Matthews for a second time. There was a lot of great music on stage, an oddly high percentage of which seemed to be politically themed. The Everett theatre is a decent place, and the stage was nicely decorated with a projected image of a Rorschact test, apparently. I looked at the image for a while and saw the image of naked elves riding goats. What does that mean?
The act that stood out most for me was Melissa Cox, an astoundingly talented guitarist and lyricist with a truly beautiful voice. My daughter enjoyed her and flautist/vocalist Nicole Gallagher, as she danced around throughout the set. Check out Melissa and Nicole in their Newark, DE based Celitc Fusion band, Mythica. Show a little love and check out their website, you will not be disappointed.
I had to leave shortly after Mythica’s performance, and I got the chance of a few minutes with Michael Berg. This was to be my first interview, and I think I screwed it up rather nicely. First note: get a voice recorder, because I apparently don’t write very quickly. Since I don’t have an exact transcript of Michael’s answers, I will paraphrase as best I can and provide some great quotes that I did happen to write down. Those will be in ” “.
JM: You were at the Brandywine 100 debates recently…
MB: Well, kinda.
JM: Yes, you were briefly at the debate and you were led out by an officer. Were you actually arrested?
JM: Do you think that kind of confrontational activism alienates voters?
MB: Were you there?
JM: Actually, no, but I had heard reports of the debate.
MB: Well, as I was led out, there were people in the audience shouting “Let him speak!”. “If you think I didn’t do my career justice, I don’t give a shit. I’m not in this for a career.”
JM: I know you’re a proponent of immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Do you think immediate withdrawal will have any negative effects on the social and political atmosphere?
MB: I think withdrawal will have an “immediate positive effect”. A person dies in Iraq every three minutes. I’m not saying that the deaths will immediately stop, but once we leave, “the fuel for the hatred will be eliminated”. “The violence is the result of invading.”
NOTE: It was about this time that I turned to check on my daughter to find that she had spilled 20 ounces of water on the carpet. The next few minutes were spent cleaning it up while Michael patiently waited.
JM: Sorry about that. One of the other candidates, Karen Hartley-Nagel is in favor of setting a date in the future to leave. Do you think a plan like that has any merit?
MB: No. The shortest time I’ve heard for a future withdrawal was 3 months. When my son, Nick, was killed in Iraq, he was there for 91 days. He was there for 54 when he was taken. Waiting to get out will only prolong the deaths.
JM: Outside of the war in Iraq, what is the next most important issue and how would you fight for it?
MB: “Healthcare. Universal, single-payer healthcare.” I would cosponsor, support, and vote for bills supporting this. 18,000 Americans die per year due to inaccessible healthcare.
JM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
MB: Just that I am not in this to gain a career. I’m in this to make some changes in this country.
Thanks were then exchanged.
In summary, this was a good event. My daughter got to hear some hippy music, and I got to enjoy it with her. Michael Berg is a refreshingly plain-spoken and terribly nice guy. I wish I could have done him better by the interview. Michael got his points across very well and made a lot of sense. Now, I have to figure out whether to vote for him, or stick with Karen Hartley-Nagel. I can’t thank Michael enough for bearing with me on my first amateur effort!