Saturday, February 7, 2015

I Didn't F*ck It Up

I Didn't F*ck It Up is a song by Katie Goodman. This is the song that I resonate most strongly with as a modern folk song. It captures the anger, bitterness, hope, fear, despair, and intention of the Occupy Movement. Occupy has often been criticized as being unfocused. It didn't have a plan for solving the problems it raised and it couldn't focus on what problem to take on. The issue was actually that there were too many problems. The beauty of this song is it applies to every screwed up system that needs change equally well.

Every feeling I have when it comes to any just issue I try to engage with is summed up in this song and I highly recommend checking it out. Checking out the lyrics it is straightforward to break it down.
There’s never been a time
As fucked up as this.
While this is not really true, it can really feel that way due to increased access to information about all the things that are screwed up. The concerned citizens of today have more information than ever about the issues that affect them, their families, the poor in their communities, their state, country and planet. We are also relatively well educated and take to heart the motto that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We have never been so capable of seeing the current state of things and having access to the historical status of things. We are on so many precipices that this line is all we can think to sum up this heavy concern.
I didn’t fuck it up
You, probably, didn’t fuck it up
But they, they fucked it up
Individually very few people have the power to cause major harm. There are some of these people that exist. Some profit off of the misery of others. Others are trusted and are not up to the task of the power they have been entrusted with. Aside from this there are collective issues that we all contribute to. In these cases it is often easy to get defensive and say "I didn't fuck it up" because one person acting alone doesn't cause that much harm. This is why I like in one of the refrains she comments mid phrase "That's right, shift the blame." It reminds me to take a moment and consider the ways in which I do contribute to the problem, even in minor ways. Small things add up.
I can’t un-fuck it up
You, probably, can’t un-fuck it up
And if we’re counting on them to un-fuck it up
Then we’re all fucked.
Just like the average person doesn't cause the problem alone, we also can't fix the problem alone. Those with power to fix things can't be trusted if they are the same people who caused the problems int he first place. There is frustration here. These problems are so big that it doesn't feel like there is any way out.
Did you fuck it up? 
How ‘bout you? Did you fuck it up?
Cuz you look like someone who could have fucked it up.
From this point of frustration it is normal for the average person to start looking around them for people they can point fingers at. For many people they don't have the ability to look past the first layer or two. This can involve things getting heated and accusatory of others with the same power level that they have, or even less. It causes us to rely on our experience, which is really our prejudices and our biases.
Okay, now pick yourself up off the floor
get sort of a hopeful tone and ask the people around you:
Could you help un-fuck it up?
For a moment we get hopeful. We realize that we are only going to get out of this if we work together. You've moved past blame. If we all just focus, put our heads together and do our best, we will make progress. We don't have to be beholden to these problems.
Now sit back and look at these people and roll your eyes and say:
Are you really soooooo fucking busy that you can’t take one fucking minute to un-fuck it up?!
That hopeful moment doesn't always last long. We then realize the challenge of motivating people. It has to do with timing a lot of times. Some of the people you run into aren't yet aware there is a problem. Some of the people you run into are so jaded by the problem now that they consider their efforts to help fix it utterly worthless. We are all on our own timeline. Since these don't sync we can get really judgmental of people when we are in a "fix it" phase and others aren't.
Okay, now lose the righteous asshole attitude and say:
I mean, I’m willing to pick one thing to help un-fuck up. Won’t you join me?
Sometimes we get flashes of insight reminding ourselves of this timeline issue. We realize that honey works much better for attracting people to the cause and so we paint on our sweetest smiles and try to make the process of helping attractive and plausible.
That’s better! Isn’t that better? Oh I’m really feeling the love, but ya know, the problem is deep down inside it’s hard not to still be pissed off that it’s fucked up to begin with. It just keeps going round and round 
Even after we've committed to being nice to potential allies in our cause and just trying to work tirelessly. It is still very overwhelming. The next emotional trap that we fall into is anger at those who caused the problem and/or continue to perpetuate the problem. People with power to fix things who let things slide or cause problems. People who allowed us to get into the current state of things.

Anyway, as you can see this song really runs the gamut. Every emotion I feel in my pursuit of supporting justice in my community and world is covered by this song. It is my therapy. It reminds me that I am not alone. I hope that it will provide you with some common feeling of solidarity in the emotional rollercoaster that is involved with trying to be an un-f*cker.

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