Laura Ainsworth, Staff Writer
Thank you, Mr. President, for your insistence during the last debate that we open the country back up as soon as possible. Thanks for your positive vision, for saying we have to learn to LIVE with the virus, while Joe Biden talked morbidly about dying with it. Thanks for pointing out the progress that has been made in treatment and the declining mortality rates, signs that the virus is weakening over time and that this WILL be over. And, especially, thank you for expressing concern about the collateral damage not just from the virus itself but from locking people, schools and businesses down for months --- the depression, financial ruin, associated health problems, even suicide.
Nowhere has the response to this virus hurt people harder than in the music business. I know, because I’m in that business myself; I grew up in it and have many musician friends. Fortunately, I have a “day job” --- writing and researching --- that I can do from home and that hasn’t been impacted at all by the virus. But many of my friends are full-time musicians, or at least they USED TO BE, and their lives have been decimated.
Two things made me think even more about this as I was watching the debate. First, it was held in Nashville --- literally, Music City USA --- which has just about been killed by the response to the virus. Second, I’d received a phone call the day before from a musician friend who gave me some especially dire news.
"There are NO GIGS,” he said, going on to detail the work that had been lost by him and his wife, who is also a musician. December is traditionally the biggest month for booking live music, and this year there is NOTHING. “The depression I’m seeing is unbelievable,” he said. He went on to tell me that several musicians he knew had committed suicide, including one friend who already suffered from depression, as many musicians do. This person was increasingly desperate for work, didn’t have the money for his medicine or the inclination to take it, and just couldn’t deal emotionally with the stress any longer, and he hanged himself from a tree in a vacant lot.
I had hoped to work with him in just a few months, as I have plans to do a studio album early next year. But he apparently got to the point where he couldn’t see as far as the next day, and now that won’t be happening.
My own feelings of depression are mild, thank God. But I’ve definitely got “virus fatigue.” I’m tired of the virus being used for political ends. (This means you, Joe Biden and the people trying to make you President.) Tired of being corrected when I call it what it is: THE CHINESE VIRUS. Tired of the media “playing doctor” and censoring even credentialed physicians and researchers, treating them as heretics when they disagree with the noted health experts at, say, Twitter. And most of all, I’m tired of the endless, ruinous lockdowns that are more political theater and darkly gleeful expressions of governmental control than real protection. (My husband and I were careful, worked at home and wore masks when we went out, and we still both got the virus.) “Never let a crisis go to waste,” says the left, and they really, really mean that.
Ironically, the music industry is populated largely by Trump-hating radical leftists. They’re supporting Biden only because they can’t have Bernie and think Kamala is an acceptably radical future President. When I “came out” as conservative after the disgraceful Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, it was a big deal, as I knew that many in my industry would designate me a “nonperson,” to borrow a term from George Orwell, if they knew I even slightly leaned right.
"Laura, you would just not believe how much they hate conservatives,” my musician friend (a closet conservative) told me on the phone. He went on to say that he and his small circle of friends who are conservatives have to monitor their speech constantly, lest they be blacklisted. He told me that one friend in the business who knew of his conservative leanings had recently told him that he can no longer be friends with him, or with anyone who supports Trump.
"Can’t we just agree to disagree and still be on good terms?” my friend asked him. “I know you think differently from me, but I can still associate with YOU.” No, the Trump hate was too strong.
Yet it’s the left that calls for more devastating lockdowns –- in the name of “science,” as if all scientists agreed on this. It’s Biden who's willing to continue indefinitely the very policies that will destroy what is left of the music business, and a lot of other businesses, while Trump’s goal is to get America back to work as soon as possible. Yet musicians who are desperate to regain their livelihoods have been brainwashed into hating Trump, blaming him as much as if he’d personally sat in a lab with some test tubes and slides and created the virus himself. They’re living in a bubble of irrational, like-minded friends who watch CNN and believe the lie that Trump is some kind of white supremacist monster.
But they have it wrong. It’s Trump who cares about them, who wants to end this nightmare and let them get back to their lives, back to the work that is their heart and soul. The left has shown it cares only about politics and power.