CHADRON, NE — The Chicago revolutionary poet/songwriter Adam Gottlieb stopped in at the northwest Nebraska Panhandle town of Chadron as part of his western states tour supporting the release of his EP, Cicada Season. On August 3, Gottlieb performed at the Bean Broker Coffee Shop to the delight of an appreciative audience.
During his show, Gottlieb spoke and sang of dreams: of the Promised Land, of the hope of We Shall Overcome, of the reality of This Land Is Your Land. He spoke and sang of love, fairness, justice, equality, economic deliverance for the poor, and to trumpet in a loud voice the plight of the disenfranchised. In other words, he passed along The People’s Gospel.
And he passed out the People’s Tribune.
And he didn’t end up tarred and feathered. Or lynched.
Gottlieb perhaps didn’t realize how risky an act he was perpetrating in Donald Trump/Posse Comitatus territory.
I know. I graduated from high school 25 miles west of Chadron. When I was an agitating high school senior, the local Posse Comitatus secretly built a file on me. From there I spent five years at Chadron State College, where I became editor of the school’s student newspaper. When I editorialized for the guarantee of free college education for the underprivileged, I got attacked on a local radio call-in program as a “known Communist.” When I editorialized against the college’s president for trampling student rights, the administration threatened to shut down the newspaper and have me prosecuted. When actor Tom Berenger wanted to research dangerous hate groups for his role in the 1988 movie Betrayed, he came to the Chadron area.
You get the picture.
Adam Gottlieb either didn’t know this history of Chadron or he wasn’t intimidated by it.
From the stage at the Bean Broker, he talked about the People’s Tribune. He invited folks to grab a free issue of the paper. And grab it they did.
Maybe times are changing. Maybe the “draining of the swamp” has drained away some hate, along with revealing that scummy creatures live at the bottom of the swamp, and that even scummier creatures have jumped into its muck.
Maybe the loud bullhorn possessed by Donald Trump and his minions is not as loud as the united voices of the growing number of the disenfranchised. Maybe hate, unfairness, injustice, inequality, economic strangulation for more than just the underprivileged, has combined to open eyes, ears, brains and hearts.
Editor’s note: Adam Gottlieb & OneLove’s debut EP, “Cicada Season,” is available at adamgottlieb.bandcamp.com, at major digital music streaming sites and online stores. The band’s debut full album, “All of You,” will be dropping in the fall of 2018. Visit adamgottliebandonelove.com or follow the band on Facebook. Book the band for People’s Tribune events. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org/