LONG BEACH (coup2k.com) April 8, 2001 -- When gazing into the future, and the 2004 General Presidential Election, Democrats would be wise instead to travel back to those thrilling days of yesteryear... Not politically, but musically.
Many analogies have been drawn about the 2000 General Presidential Election debacle. It has been compared to Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, Disney animated features, operas... But for me, the most salient analogy lies not in fiction, but in the 31st Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony.
From Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Moments in Rock:
Feb. 22, 1989: JETHRO TULL WINS THE GRAMMY... FOR HEAVY METAL!
The famously uncool Grammys had added a long-overdue Best Hard Rock/Metal category, and uncompromising headbangers Metallica (fronted by guitarist James Hetfield) were invited to perform their intense epic "One" at the glitzy ceremony...Soon after the band's thundering performance, the Grammy went to washed-up proggers Jethro Tull, solidifying metal's status as rock's most undeservedly disrespected genre.
I remember this event distinctly. This happened at a time in my life when watching the Grammys, the Oscars -- heck, even watching the MTV Video Music Awards -- meant getting dressed to the nines and throwing a party for a few dozen of my closest friends. But this year was special for another reason. The music closest to my Diva heart had finally been given its own award category: Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance. And the nominees were... Metallica, Jane's Addiction, AC/DC, Iggy Pop, and Jethro Tull. To a music fan, the first three made sense, the last two made none. Especially in a year that saw more great heavy music than you could bang a head to...
Metallica was not only the critical favorite, but the favorite to win among music fans -- and they had paid their dues. (For those of you who aren't familiar with the band, don't believe the hype. They aren't satanic. They don't advocate promiscuity or drinking or drug use. They are flat-out political.) Metallica was a shoe-in. They were a sure thing.
Or so everyone thought.
Metallica took to the stage to perform "One", inspired by "Johnny Got His Gun," a film about a war veteran, almost killed in World War I, who is left with no limbs or senses, and in a vegetative state, but is still capable of thought and uncertainty -- and suffering. Is he dead? Is he dreaming? Is he alive? He doesn't know. He only knows that he wants to be set free.
Well, Metallica brought the house down.
Then the time came to present the award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance. I was so excited. I was ready to watch a band I loved get some much-deserved recognition for their excellence.
But it was not to be. The presenter announced Jethro Tull the winner.
The "suits" on the floor closest to the stage began to clap. I was confused. What the hell were they clapping for? As the network cut to commercial, I could hear the booing from the balcony, swelling in volume and intensity. They didn't cut to commercial quickly enough to miss that. There it was, for all the world to see: The folks in the cheap seats were pissed. Royally.
And so, into the history books went the most embarrassing moment in Grammy history, with the possible notable exception of naming Milli Vanilli "Best New Artist" the following year.
But something else happened that following year: Justice was done. Denied their rightful victory in 1988, Metallica won in 1989 -- and for the very song they performed on the Grammys that fateful night.
The story had come full circle -- at least for Metallica...
I've said before that you're not going to find a better fictional fable that tells the story of coup2k than the movie "Drop Dead Gorgeous". I still believe that's true. But I also believe this: If you are looking for a true-life parallel for coup2k, you won't find a more perfect example that the Metallica 1988 Grammy Awards debacle -- a debacle the Grammys have yet to live down.
Yes, George W. Bush deserved the Republican Presidential nomination about as much as Jethro Tull deserved to be nominated for the 1988 Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Grammy. Yes, it shocked the socks off of the exit pollsters when George W. Bush seemed to be doing so well in the Florida vote totals. Yes, the suits on the floor clapped politely when George W. Bush was selected President by the Extreme Court. And yes, the folks in the cheap seats -- the lowly voters, the majority -- were pissed. Royally.
We still are.
So remember this the next time someone begins waxing philosophical about why Al Gore "lost" in 2000, or about why he might not ought to be the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2004:
Al Gore didn't lose. He was robbed.
If there was any justice in America, Al Gore would be the President today.
The circle remains open regarding the 2000 Presidential Election.
And just like the Grammys, nothing would close that circle more prettily than having Al Gore, the rightful winner, walk away with it all in 2004.
Al Gore in 2004? Hey, why not? It worked for Metallica...NEXT: "Did You Order the Code 39?"
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