Lay Down and Die, Goodbye (Easy Action, 1970)
“Lay Down and Die, Goodbye” Lyrics:
You are the only censor. If you don’t like what I say, you have a
choice. You can turn me off..
You are the only censor
If you don’t like what I say, you have a choice. You can turn me off..
Well I’ve written home to mother
The ink ran from my tear
I said “Momma, momma please
Tell me why you brought me”
Easy Action, the 2nd Alice Cooper (the band) album was released in 1970. It follows in the footsteps of its predecessor Pretties For You – it still displays experimental doses of psychedelic breakout and fanfare. However, it is definitely a much different album. In fact, we find glimpses of who the band would soon become in songs like “Mr. and Misdemeanor,” “Shoe Salesman,” “Refrigerator Heaven,” “Return of the Spiders,” and “Beautiful Flyaway.” The album still shows heavy doses of influence by the Beatles, but the band seems more in sync – the album clearly proves that the group has progressed and developed between this record and their previous endeavor.
“Lay Down and Die, Goodbye” is where our journey leads us this week. A song which is basically an instrumental demonstration – beginning with these powerful words that are repeated midway through the track. “You are the only censor. If you don’t like what I say, you have a choice. You can turn me off…” Words of wisdom for all generations, all walks of life, and all people. Alice goes on to revisit this idea on later songs and albums. A concept that asks the question, “When you have the freedom and choice to opt-out of participating in whatever it is that offends you, why continue to watch or listen?”
This past week, we experienced a minor dispute with another Facebook user. In a nutshell, this person was astounded as to how and why “Fridays With Alice” posts are being shared within the Facebook group where the discussion took place. First of all, please note that despite this user being offended, all rules and policies of the group were upheld and respected (If a private individual or a group has asked for particular types of speech to be omitted from their arena of debate, that should be appreciated and respected). However, it would seem society has found itself in a bit of a conundrum at this point. It appears that if the powers that be, whether that’s media, government, or the social ‘norm,’ disapprove with what you have to say, then “you have the right to remain silent” – instead of the right to speak your mind or express your ideas. Make no mistake…it’s A dangerous place for the field of ideas and free-thinking. Something that we as a free people and society need to carefully examine and take seriously. Instead of squashing ideas and jumping to the offense, it would benefit us all to stop…take a breath…and consider each other’s point of view. We might just learn something about each other and ourselves as well (If nothing more, maybe a better understanding of the other side of the coin).
Looking at this issue from the scope of God’s Word, we find quite a few things to consider. Keeping this brief and to the point, it seems the Beatitudes are where we find the answers to our current atmosphere concerning the thoughts and speech of society today.
Christ spoke one of his most famous sermons on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. During what is commonly referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount,” he gives us a list of blessings known as the Beatitudes. They are as follows:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:3-12
It would seem as if Christ is calling us to be peaceful, tolerant, and willing to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). Tolerance is a word that is thrown around often these days. However, it seems as if it has become a one-way street. It is frequently asked for but seldom returned in the process. Tolerance stems from the word tolerate, which means “to allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of something that one does not necessarily like or agree with – without interference.” Stop and think about that for a moment. Who are the people we often tolerate the most in this world? Wouldn’t it seem as if our friends and family are the people we tolerate most in life? The very people that we love the most. Wouldn’t that actually mean that tolerating others is actually linked to love?
Christ has already abolished sin in this world. Through His blood, the sins of those that accept Him are washed clean (Ephesians 1:7). We may not agree with the opinions of others in this world, but that does not mean we alienate ourselves from those we disagree with.
On a global and governing level, it makes sense to vote your conscience…to stand up for what you believe in. However, on a personal level, it requires that we bestow love and tolerance on those that disagree with us. That we strive to share both our opinion and viewpoint, as well as the mercy and grace of Christ (the very things shown and given to us by Him). In the process, we strive to learn from each other and allow others to see Christ’s love through our respectful, loving interactions, which should always attempt to emulate Him.
We can’t expect the world to understand and come to know Christ if we aren’t willing to bring Him to them. We must find ways to react differently when faced with difficulty, disappointment, and disagreement. To know that “going against human nature” leaves us blessed beyond measure and shows others around us that we are serious about our new life and transformation through Him. That we take seriously the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12)” In other words, be willing to walk in another man’s shoes – treating them the way you would want to be treated and trying to understand why they may act the way they do. Kindness is an underrated tool. In today’s “cancel culture,” compassion and a chance at redemption are two commodities we ought to work hard at bringing back to an atmosphere that has grown toxic with excessive vitriol and hatred.
As we walk side by side with the rest of humanity, we must ask ourselves, am I allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my path? As I step forward, do I leave traces of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as I walk this earth (Galatians 5:22-23)? The truth will set you free, and the truth is, when you meet others head-on with His principles, it makes the ways of the world look foolish. When love battles hate, love wins. When joy faces sorrow, joy triumphs. When peace encounters war, peace prevails. When God’s plan is applied, it works. For too long, we’ve fought the principles of the world with its own strategy instead of using the one we’ve been given – the one found in God’s Word.
Wrapping this up, the ways of the world are oppressive. For those of us that live in countries that value our freedom, it’s incomprehensible to imagine places in the world where a post such as this would guarantee punishment, imprisonment, or death. Yet it is still happening in many parts of the world, even today. In fact, the assault on freedom is alive and well. We often take liberty for granted and forget where it comes from. The Founders of the United States of America were adamant about declaring that those freedoms do not come from man, government, or anything of the like. They come from our CREATOR. Our Lord in Heaven is our ultimate authority (Matthew 28:18), and we remain unseparated from Him and His Love, which is given to us FREELY in Jesus Christ, our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). May we find ways to respectfully share that Love, knowing that He is the great mediator and equalizer in this world.
SIDE NOTE: A documentary entitled, No Safe Spaces – starring Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager – releases today in theaters across the nation. The film takes a closer look at the 1st amendment and its importance. After having private conversations with multiple individuals about the film, it seems fitting to include the trailer to the movie with this post. After viewing the trailer, check out their website (if interested) for shows near you at nosafespaces.com/theaters.
In conclusion, Alice is no stranger to oppressive behavior and conduct. During Alice’s career, he’s been subject to many forms of censorship and slander. He’s even been banned from certain places in the world. A portion of his music and specific albums (namely Raise Your Fist and Yell) have dealt with this type of harassment and tyranny. Although, you have to admit “Lay Down and Die, Goodbye” and “Sex, Death, and Money,” a song that has not yet been covered on “Fridays with Alice,” are songs that drive home the fact that you are free to control what you watch, experience, and hear. “Sex, Death, and Money” offers up the lyrics “I was so offended as I sat *(freely and willingly)* for three hours…I’ll never be the same.” At what point did we become so lazy, upset, and close-minded, that we would rather infringe on the rights of others rather than practicing our right to “just get up and leave.” Freedom is a two-way street. You have the right to exercise your freedom, but you must also stand up for the freedom of those you disagree with as well.
That’s it for this week. Be well and catch you next Friday!
In the meantime, Keep Walkin’ in Faith and Rockin’ with Alice!
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