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RICHARD RAPAPORT

Sympathy for the devil

TO MICK, Keith, Charlie, and Ron: Many California fans who really Miss You have been Shattered by news that California Governor Schwarzenegger is Slipping Away to Spend the Night Together with you on Sunday at your opening show in Boston.

Don't Start Me Up, but maybe you haven't heard about Big Arnold's scam to drag the Wild Horses of conservatism to your concert. They'll be there to pony up beaucoup Brown Sugar because they believe California progressivism is Slipping Away and want to do everything possible to encourage its demise. Like a Rolling Stone, Arnold is thus making for Boston to do The Worst to the opposition.

It's a sad story about how these right-wingers are Happy to be Mother's Little Helpers by forking over the $100,000 per seat Arnold is soliciting to share his box at your concert at Fenway Park. The worst part about this Sweethearts Together deal is that the money will defray campaign initiatives in November that could put all Californians Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

It's true that there are Rolling Stones fans who think It's Only Rock and Roll, but some of us are Out of Tears scared that if we Don't Stop them now, the lunatic right will continue to Go Wild. The truth is, if the Stones don't take a stand, before you can say Jumpin' Jack Flash, for California's liberals It's All Over. Now, knowing that the Guv is Playing With Fire at your show may put the band in a bit of a bind.

If you ignore the kind of Roll Me politics evidenced by Arnold's mega-scalping of your tickets, perhaps it is because it's natural to show Sympathy for the Devil you know. Since, however, you are the Rolling Stones we revere, you must already be having Mixed Emotions about Schwarzenegger and his supporters' Let It Bleed political agenda, and how they plan to pay for it. The proof of their Under My Thumb cynicism is that the money raised will go toward a series of the right wing's Paint It Black November electoral initiatives designed, many think, to redistrict some Californians into Beast of Burden status.

Possibly, you think we are Fool To Cry foul at our governor's Spider and Fly field trip. But maybe if you call him on his con, he might have to slink back to Sacramento, and, As Tears Go By beg Maria to please, please Gimme Shelter. Remember, if Under Cover of Night, he can get away with this unethical scalping of your tickets, this election could be The Last Time for a California democracy being buried under bouquets of Dead Flowers paid for, in part, by your music.

So Mick and company, please help us stop what could be California's 19th Nervous Breakdown. Come to our Emotional Rescue by helping Shine A Light on Schwarzenegger's way-off-the-reservation political Honky Tonk. Today, he may be telling people, Time Is On My Side, but with your help, we will Not Fade Away, nor give our governor the Satisfaction of throwing away our freedoms like so many Tumbling Dice. Arnold is Playing With Fire, so Don't Stop complaining about his money-raising ploy. We're going to need you boys to be Steadfast and True, by standing up in Boston and telling our Heart of Stone governor: ''Sorry, muscle boy, You Can't Always Get What You Want!"

Richard Rapaport is a visiting scholar at the University of California Institute for Governmental Studies.

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