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« January 2015 | Main | March 2015 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » February 2015

By Angelo Lopez on February 14, 2015

I wrote a previous blog about socially conscious music from the 1980s, and thought I'd make another blog about some of my favorite music from that era. I remember it as being a very politically charged time, with many musicians and artists reacting against the conservative politics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. On a personal level I thought Ronald Reagan was a very kind and gracious man. He was able to make friendships with people irregardless of political affiliation and he got along well with liberals like Tip O' Neill and Ted Kennedy. Reagan's politics however, did great damage to the poor and the blue-collar working class. Many people remember the Reagan economic recovery of the mid 1980s, but people forget that the Reagan recovery was fueled by those industries that benefitted from the increase in military spending that was part of Reagan's strategy to force the Soviet Union into an arms race that the Soviets couldn't afford. Reagan's economic policies were devastating especially to the inner city and the rural farming communities. Both communities had struggled from larger economic trends that started in the 1970s due to the transition to a more globalized economy, and Reagan's free market policies exacerbated the problems in the inner cities and the farming communities. Both the inner cities and the farm communities suffered from unemployment problems, poor schools, high crime and drug problems. Cocaine devastated the inner cities and the number of homeless people skyrocketed as funds for the federal safety net were cut. The gay community was also devastated by the AIDS crisis, as social conservatives demonized AIDS victims. Reagan's efforts to fund right wing governments in Latin America destabilized the area and led to a cycle of violence that spurred residents to try to escape and fueled an illegal immigration problem that we are still dealing with.

Musicians in the 1980s were affected by all these things going on. They wrote songs to try to make sense of all these things and to express the anxieties and struggles that we were all going through at the time.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on February 11, 2015

Recently the news has been dominated by the efforts of conservative Christians to push back against laws protecting LGBT rights. In Alabama, state judges have resisted a federal ruling to issue licenses for same sex marriages. Several conservative Christian business owners have refused services to gay and lesbian couples who are about to get married. The Kansas governor just rescinded his predecessors executive action issued in August 2007 by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the state government. This news masks a larger trend where Christians of all denominations are increasingly supporting LGBT rights and are increasingly supporting same-sex marriage. Many Catholics, Mormons, Evangelicals and other Christians are fighting within their churches to change attitudes and teachings regarding homosexuality and are working for reconciliation between the Church and the LGBT community. In much the same way that Christians during the civil rights movement in the 1960s fought to integrate churches and change racist church teachings, today's Christians are fighting the homophobia within their churches and denominations and are making the church live up to the Christian spirit.

Read more from this post here ...

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