Perception

Recently my brother told me something that really made me think. Our father was a violinist and music teacher, all instruments. We were basically expected to take up an instrument as a child, and learn to play. Music was still taught in public schools back then, so I started early and had wonderful violin and voice teachers.

For me it was violin, his love above all other instruments. Dad bought a used baby grand so my sister and I both took up piano, with a private teacher. My brother ended up with the trumpet, and only recently told me it was Dad’s idea, not his. He’d always wanted to take piano as well.

I asked him what he remembered about trumpet, except being forced to practice at home so he cleverly decided to do so at 6:00 a.m. while walking up and down the upstairs hallway and waking all of us. We put an end to that, and he was gleeful to comply.

He said he remembered counting. What? Counting what? Bars, he said. I didn’t understand. He said he had to count 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 2, 3, 4 … until the trumpets came in. It never occurred to me. I was first violin, second chair. I was always playing! It never occurred to me that others had to wait until the conductor (and originally, the composer) wanted them to play.

The most egregious slight is to the guy who plays the cymbals. The only time he gets to strut his stuff is on July 4th, during the 1912 Overture! Then he’s drowned out by, you guessed it, the fireworks!

Think about perceptions of two recent political morasses. One is the “human infrastructure” bill and whether funding should be provided to seniors for vision, dental and hearing. Today’s arguments are pointless unless you go back to the initial thinkers who conceived of insuring ones health to begin with. Who ever thought that being able to see, hear and chew food were luxuries that only a few should have? Who thinks now that it’s OK for all old people to lose basic bodily functions because they’re frivolous? Think again. Perception. I am not yet eligible for Medicare but even my arm-and-a-leg (literally and figuratively) health care now offers little in the way of vision, hearing and dental.

Then think about voting rights. Lots of good folks have fought and died for voting rights in our country. Now one party is saying that the presidential election was rigged even though they know that it wasn’t. Why wasn’t their election/re-election rigged as well? Why only Donald Trump?

Now states are passing draconian laws to stop people from voting and, if they do somehow find a way to cast a ballot, deny that person’s right to vote and substitute partisan judgment instead. Why? Because even though the Constitution says people are eligible to vote, they’re the “wrong” people. Why? Because they don’t like my guy. Or gal. That’s not fair, or Constitutional. So why has our perception changed so much in four years, why is it now appropriate to laud white supremacy and think that others are not worthy of representation in our democracy?

Some things to think about on this grey Fall day. I’m counting until you finish thinking and we can all play our National Anthem together. 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 2, 3, 4, … Cheers! Dee

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