“Oh, and while the king was looking down, The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned, No verdict was returned
And while Lennon read a book on Marx, The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark, The day the music died”
– Don McLean, American Pie
On February 3, 1959, a single-engine Beechcraft 35 Bonanza took off from Mason City, Iowa, en route to Fargo, North Dakota. On board were famed rock musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. Richardson, “The Big Bopper.” By morning when the pilot failed to check in, a second flight took off to retrace the flight path of the first, and six miles from the takeoff, the mangled wreckage of the first plane was discovered in a cornfield. All passengers aboard the plane were killed. This event was penned as “the day the music died” by 1970s folk singer Don McLean.
Growing up in the 1960s and seeing drastic societal changes such as the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, the day the music died came to describe a rapidly changing culture and a loss of innocence in McLean’s song American Pie. Deemed the sexual revolution and the age of free love, the 1960s typified the height of anti-government sentiment and social liberalism.
Sometime between then and now, the socially liberal left that emerged from the 1960s made friends with the government and came to adopt the authoritarianism of their Bolshevik predecessors. These authoritarians no longer wished to oppose the wars waged by the big government but to champion them. They no longer wish to defend the right to burn flags in protest but to imprison those who use political wrongspeak.
Recent examples highlight this shift to the authoritarian spectrum, such as the case of Douglass Mackey. Mackey, also known as meme poster Ricky Vaughn, became famous for his satirical posts that the left has suggested helped to get Donald Trump elected in 2016. Mackey most famously created a meme that urged leftist voters to vote for Hillary Clinton by text, a technology that does not exist. For his efforts, the Eastern District of New York arrested Mackey on Conspiracy Against Rights charges. Mackey was convicted by a New York City jury and will be sentenced to up to ten years in federal prison.
Critics have noted that Mackey was not the only person to make this satirical joke. A leftist meme poster named Kristina Wong made an identical joke targeted at Trump supporters in 2016. As with most authoritarian regimes, political targeting is reserved for the opposition.
No individual has been more targeted than former President Donald Trump. In a recent interview about the indictment of Trump by famed citizen journalist Tim Pool, former Congressman Ron Paul was asked at what point this shift to weaponized government happened. He suggested that a coup of the American government came with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and we’re still dealing with the repercussions today. If the day the music died described a loss of innocence for an American generation in the 1960s, the administration of Donald Trump became that red pill moment for many in this one.
Throughout Trump’s administration, the permanent government apparatus removed the blinders from the public and showed them exactly who they were. The nakedly partisan attacks from the press were relentless, and the unending scandal and lawfare employed were demoralizing. Still, conservatives held out hope that what government tools were available to them would act as a bulwark against a weaponized state: Firstly, elections, and second, the courts.
When conservatives failed to make headway against government overreach with the elections of 2020 and 2022, they placed undue faith in the courts. In return, they found that the courts were long ago overrun with partisan attorneys general, district attorneys, and judges. A weaponized Department of Justice put January Sixth defendants behind bars for years awaiting trial. Some who received a trial were exonerated after conviction, such as the Qanon Shaman, Jacob Chansley. He was released to a halfway house early last month when it came to light that the government withheld exculpatory evidence from his defense, reminiscent of the trial of former Trump Administration official General Michael Flynn.
Trump’s recent sham indictment follows a long line of political targeting and malfeasance. We now know that the Biden Whitehouse authorized the FBI Mar-a-Lago raid, likely to retrieve Crossfire Hurricane documents that Trump held over government conspirators. Three grand juries in New York City and Atlanta were seated by partisan District Attorneys that specifically ran on targeting Trump. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Special Counsel to probe Trump’s possession of classified information no doubt has a preferred political outcome as well: to stifle his 2024 Presidential bid.
As the permanent regime marches forward with its war on political opposition, it flushes American sovereignty down the toilet. When Joe Biden isn’t rambling on about licking the world, he is busy signing off on the collapse of the American system. From his Inflation Reduction Act to his endorsement of autocrats like Brazil’s Lula de Silva, who instantly dropped the dollar for BRICS and the Chinese Yuan, Biden has sent the dollar into a tailspin on a global stage.
From his war on American energy and gas appliances to his approval and alleged bombing of Russia’s Nordstream 2 pipeline, Biden’s green new deal war on fossil fuels has been felt globally. More than a year later, his ill-advised proxy war in Ukraine rages and escalates toward the first global conflict in eighty years while isolating the United States from the world order established after the last one. Many people accepted his regime in 2020, seeking a return to normalcy. They agreed to the terms of their tormentors with empty promises to hear the music once again. They were lied to.
In several stanzas of McLean’s American Pie, he sings of attempts to restart the music so that people might return to dancing and forget reality. What makes a loss of innocence lament-worthy is that it can never be regained once lost. Our only recourse is to embrace reality and then work to shape it for the better.