The local gas utility had been hammering the entire day along the block, even when I arrived home from work. They kept that up until maybe 7 so that the subsequent quiet was appreciated and thorough. You know how it is when you’ve had noise all day only to have it shushed and the absence of sound creates an auditory void in your world.
That’s why it was surprising that around 1030 we heard music outside our bedroom window, loud music; right around the time we’re trying to go to sleep. My first reaction was frankly WTF, you’ve got to be kidding me, especially after the raucous day we’d had earlier. Lying there though and music being what it is, the tune began to permeate through me and next thing I know, my foot is tapping. I think it was Mexican conjunto and I thought almost immediately that if Trump has his way come November, such sounds may not be heard for much longer.
The city where I live was once touted as the one of the most dangerous cities in the US, per capita. And we wore such a bogus distinction while municipalities both near and far racked up body counts that would’ve put Vlad the Impaler to shame. Despite that it’s also a melting pot of immigrants; black, brown, white and all the hues of humanity. And with their arrival comes their music. It’s nothing to hear Tex-Mex booming from a car stereo or back yard, so getting serenaded around midnight, while it doesn’t happen often, hey, sometimes people feel a certain way.
If Trump wins in November and gets his dubious wall then this mingling of art, music, ideas and literature we have that has epitomized America for centuries will be lost possibly forever. Think about that for a minute and while you do so, think about Mexican music.
Did you ever wonder why some of it sounds like a polka? I did because I hear so much of it and frankly, it’s pretty good. I discovered it comes from early Germans who settled in Texas in the 1830’s creating an area known as the German Belt. Polkas were not lost on the indigenous people and soon the major instrument of the European sound, the accordion, was drafted into the local musical culture. Think about that and while you do try to remember David Dukes comments about Trump’s implicit attention to the needs of European-Americans.
I wonder if Mr. Duke and some of the others in Trump’s camp know how deep the European connection goes in North America. I mean, you don’t get any more European than Germany. I think they’re missing a big point and that is when it comes to European culture being eroded or even assimilated or maybe I’ll call it shared, well that began a long time ago. This erasure of being that some fear now so terribly has come and gone and in its wake is something faintly resembling a peace between men. It’s called unity (however tenuous) and the evidence of it lies in the music.
I think the operative word in it all is “if”; if Trump wins in November, if Trump does what he’s threatened to do, if. It’s an important preposition because it supports the possibility of another scenario; it tells me that there is still hope. Donald may produce the change in character and demeanor, and hopefully policy that his campaign says he can. Maybe, I don’t know. If not, the loss of such pleasant international interludes would be a shame.
Lying there in bed and listening, the music took a mournful tone, sad yet upbeat. It had gotten strangely quiet in my bedroom; funny the way the song filled the space, even funnier how deeply we were digging it, despite not knowing any Spanish. Truthfully, I don’t know if it was really conjunto; it could’ve been banda, which sounds like a polka. There’s a bunch of styles; Tejano, Tex-Mex, banda, conjunto, ranchera, norteno or quebradita. And they all descended in part from German music. There’s your European values Mr. Duke. It’s looking back at you in that brown face you see.
Accordion Image By Necz0r – Henry Doktorski, CC BY-SA 3.0,