So what now?
That was the question I asked myself this evening midway through Laughlin’s one-man show at Theatre 80 located on the lower Eastside of Manhattan.
During the first part of the performance, I kept reminding myself who I am is someone who entertains, respects and in fact honors other people’s points of views and conversations whether I agree or not agree with them.
But honestly, I found that difficult to do until late in the play.
What annoyed me, and in fact found deeply offensive was Laughlin’s scathing criticism of the United States government and the Obama administration. He used the following terms; they are screwed up and worse, F up (spelled out).
Why was I so annoyed and actually contemplated walking out of the theatre?
Well, it’s because I have a habitual tendency, although I know better when given it thought, to immediately be suspect and curious of anyone who criticizes the first “Black” president of this country whether they do it openly or somehow I get the impression they are thinking of being critical because of the Presidents “race.”
Yea, I said it.
That ugly “race/racism” question comes to mind even though I totally reject race classifications whether I am referring to myself, the President or anybody else for that matter. The only race consideration that makes sense in my mind is the human race.
Let me clarify something. I have been and continue to be an advent supporter of the President not because I ever ID’d him as a Black man but because he is a person whom I believe is a great human being and leader.
To whatever extent people choose to criticize the President, I’m never swayed. I know what it takes to be at the top of government and any private organization. I’ve been there. As CEO of several organizations I know what it took to get the job and to survive once I was appointed.
I finally got some relief from my feeling of resentment when Laughlin pointed out mid-way in the play that politicos must do what they must to get needed votes and to satisfy their continuants.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever, and I know Laughlin didn’t either, expect Obama to be a stereotypical angry “Blackman” as President nor did he think Angela Davis, in her Black Panther days could have ever been President.
This writing is not intended to be a full review of the play, although I want to note that Laughlin does not limit his scathing assessment of the world to the US government. He accuses US, that is you and I, as being screwed up and worse f’d up because WE knowingly allow an F up game to be played before our very eyes by ignoring and remaining complacent to how things are. All we do is biker back and forth about the rightness or wrongness of stuff.
So What Now?
Laughlin suggest, and I fully agree, that we need to redefine the game; that is life’s game. We accomplish that by changing our language and creating a new game.
I believe that can be accomplished by pursuing and sustaining a conversation I initiated six years ago at Creating A World Community; that is a world that works for each and every person. We individually and collectively need to create new stories and interpretations of who we are and who we are for each other. Laughlin left his audience with the words Wake, Think, Speak and the following quote from a native North American:
“The Earth does not belong to man; Man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood, which unites one family. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Chief Seattle
While the show’s production is far less than desirable, the extraordinarily powerful, timely and relevant message makes it a must see by all.
P.S. I applaud Laughlin’s courage and his personal story in his Something To Say production.