By Jeff Levene
As the leaves turn brown, the air turns crisp, and everything dies, so die our hopes of political unity, economic security and world peace. I usually divert my anxieties and frustration over the election season into entertainment, but with NBC’s fall line up there seems to be no end in sight to the assault on our hopes and dreams as young, collegiate Americans hoping to exit college during a time of prosperity and security. It is only a matter of time before the DH erupts with rioting between the intensely opinionated student groups on campus. So as the world appears to decay around us and you feel like hunkering down to avoid the red and blue bloodshed, here are a couple things to look forward to while the foundation of America crumbles.
Almost synchronized precisely alongside the struggle of the political realm is a stage that more or less acts as a Commedia dell’Arte to Washington. Yes, with the recent referee scandal and the continuous tackling, clipping, late hitting, sacking and trash talking, the NFL is the perfect stress valve when we’re tired of watching debates between candidates going for Presidential, Senatorial, or Secretary of Who-Gives-a-Rat’s-Hairy-Behindial positions. In football, controversy is not handled with snarky words and back-stabbing, but instead the attempt to flat out annihilate one’s opponent. Bad decisions (like that pitiful call that lost my Pack the game last Monday) result in immediate action from owners and commissioners, unlike the painful process of impeaching whoever’s in the White House or waiting four years to try again with someone new. Sure, America isn’t Sparta, but football will sure make you realize that their methods may have been more effective, if less than humane.
Now, for all those who abstain from government as a means of peaceful protest, you may prefer Bob Dylan’s look into democracy, as this September has given us plenty of amazing new music to combat the boys in politics. Remember America’s better days by getting down to the nation’s roots with the recent release of folk albums like Avett Brothers’ The Carpenter and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. Both albums provide a great way to escape from a divided society, so go blast it and drive down some of Carolina’s glorious back roads. With intense rolling banjo pumping through your veins, check out the not-red (mostly) and not-blue colors of the leaves and mountains. For the non-granolas or traditionalists, albums from Lupe Fiasco, Dave Matthews Band, and dare I say, even Deadmau5 are preaching philosophical topics, and are pretty darn funky to boot. While the squares mudsling, throw a dance party.
Finally, we’re in one of the most beautiful locations in America for fall colors. As a resident of Asheville who battles through droves of tourists on a seasonal basis, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but take a day trip up to Greenville’s hippie, northern neighbor for a full fall revival. Head downtown to check out the culinary delights of the fall menus. Go apple picking to get in touch with our once calm and simplified agrarian society in lieu of the fast-paced commercial world dominated by 24 hour news and the rants of jarring politicos.
I’m a jaded old senior who, at the end of the day, has political opinions and understands the importance of a democratic system. I may even cave in and drive home to vote when the time comes. But with my favorite season afoot and the beauty of the South in the fall, I encourage you not to overlook your artistic likings and your desire for the full human experience. Explore, love, cheer and be passionate this fall. After all, passionate living doesn’t just mean biting the head off of that Republican or Democrat you can’t stand.