For all of our infighting about everything, all the time, there is one thing we do seem to share: Most of us like to sing. It doesn’t matter if we can’t carry a note in a dump truck, there’s something enormously enjoyable about it.
We all have those secret, unseen moments when we’re rock stars, even if it’s just in the shower or while driving the car. Some of the most popular TV shows these days involve singing competitions. We snicker at people who have not been told the truth about their talent, but we probably should give them credit for the bravery of trying.
Music is how I mark my memories. I only have to hear a cut from Steely Dan’s "Aja," the Doobie Brothers’ "Minute By Minute," or Fleetwood Mac’s "Rumors," and I am 20 years old. And skinny.
The stereo in my childhood home was always warm and stacked with Motown, whose iconic label featured a map of Detroit that never quite stretched down to Canton, no matter how many times I examined it.
Music both bends and transcends time. Five for Fighting’s "Superman" instantly catapults me back to the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. To sing along with Marvin Gaye’s "What’s Going On" is to be a kid in a country still trying to recuperate from three assassinations and Kent State.
We all should sing, and every day. It beats trading potshots on Facebook.
Who’s your granddaddy?
In the months to come, we’re probably going to hear of a lot of singing. An investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by some Americans, ramped up last week with indictments issued against President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates. They’re facing 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and making false statements, though nothing has yet been directly connected to the president.
American politics is in danger of devolving into a sorry tale of avarice and the reckless pursuit of power. The big question, is it the kind of greed where people actually would put their own country at risk?
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was tapped to lead the probe, is one of the last public-service patricians in America. Mueller is what would happen if you crossed Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith with Atticus Finch.
As it stands, federal prosecutors have a 93 percent conviction rate. If you’re among the dozens of people who are about to be caught up in Mueller’s net, you, too, would be wise to sing.
Sing like your mom was Beyoncé and your pop was Pavarotti.
Sing like Sinatra was your granddaddy.
The reason organized crime families are limping into the sunset is because "stand-up" guys only exist in the movies. People who sip Pappy Winkle bourbon in $3,000 suits don’t tend to thrive in places where you can get stabbed because it’s Tuesday.
Snitches go home
If you roll the dice against Mueller and are convicted on charges of conspiring against your own country, you won’t be going to Martha Stewart Tennis Prison. You’re headed for Shawshank.
A second shoe dropped last week in the form of George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser who has pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI.
Papadopoulos was looking down a double barrel of 30 years in prison for trying to procure stolen e-mails from the Russians, ostensibly to help Trump’s campaign.
Arrested in July, he likely has been chattering to the feds like a toddler on espresso.
Snitches may get stitches, but they also get to go home.
People who know about such things say the Russians look for people they can turn. One minute you’re waving Old Glory, and the next, you’re a guest judge at the Miss Stalingrad beauty pageant.
You don’t have to be a historian to know this could make Watergate look like shoplifting.
The smart people are going to sing.
Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.