Thursday, November 17, 2016

Musical Monday Playlist - Cabaret

In the 2016 Presidential election, I wrote about the music from the movie Cabaret, using it to compare the Trump campaign to one of its closest historical precedents. Starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey, and set in Germany during the Weimar Republic, Cabaret shows people living out their fairly ordinary lives, and that is what makes the play so terrifying. In the background of the play, showing up every now and then, the Nazi Party is on the rise, and with only a few fleeting exceptions, the characters mostly ignore them. There are a few instances in which the performers at the Kit Kat Klub make fun of the Nazi adherents, and one notable albeit futile instance of open resistance, but for the most part, the characters all put the Nazi threat out of their mind and proceed with their lives as normal.

This, I believe, is paralleled by the rise of Trump, and the fact that most people seem to want to simply put it out of their mind and go on with their lives as if everything was normal. Make no mistake about it, Trump is an authoritarian, and if he were given the opportunity to impose the policies he has espoused and the leadership style he has favored in the past, he will be a fascist. All those saying "give him a chance" are merely playing out the part of the characters in Cabaret, who spent their time worrying about the details of their personal lives while the nation around them slowly caught fire.

In the weeks before the election I said that I feared that the election of Trump as President of the United States might mean the end of the U.S. Republic as we have known it. I still stand by that assessment. It is likely that we are about to see a remaking of the nation at a very fundamental level. Laws and practices that most people alive today have taken for granted as the basic foundations of the landscape of the country are up for grabs: The Voting Rights Acts, the Civil Rights Acts, the separation of church and state, a respect for non-Christian religions, the laws against neopotism and graft, the very existence of national parks - these and much more that people simply assume are facts of life in the U.S. are all likely to be threatened by a Trump administration. Effectively, with a pliant Republican controlled Congress, there is no law or policy that is not subject to revocation or alteration. With a Republican controlled Supreme Court, there is nothing at all that is safe.

The world is changing, and like the characters in Cabaret, many Americans are willfully oblivious to the coming storm.

09/12/16: Wilkommen by Joel Grey
09/19/16: Mein Herr by Liza Minnelli
09/26/16: Two Ladies by Joel Grey
10/17/16: Tiller Girls featuring Joel Grey
10/24/16: Cabaret by Liza Minnelli

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