Living in Paradise

Stand John, Stand

Stand John, Stand

Someone recently snapped a photo of rocker John Mellencamp at a Colts football game in Indianapolis. While everyone else stood during the Star-Spangled Banner, he remained seated, eating popcorn.

According to reports, this isn’t the first time he’s chosen to ignore or take a knee during the playing of our country’s national anthem.

At his advanced age, he may have difficulty rising. I have lots of friends who have trouble getting out of chairs. By the time they are on their feet, everyone else around them is seated or has moved on. Maybe that’s John’s problem.

I noticed at the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame Awards ceremony, where he sang with Bruce Springsteen in a tribute to the late rocker Jerry Lee Lewis, Mellencamp had a scarf around his throat. Maybe he was trying to hide a “turkey neck” that often comes with advanced years.

Another sign that John is getting along – and maybe didn’t have the energy to stand – is his 2023 touring schedule. A quick glance shows there are a lot of venues in Florida and two nights in Vegas. Sooner or later every old and slightly over-the-hill musician ends up in Vegas and/or Sarasota.

In all fairness, it does look like a rigorous schedule that will take him all around the country. We’ll see how well he holds up.

Mellencamp has always been outspoken both in and out of music. And I agree with a lot of his causes and complaints. But why has he been able to say exactly what he thinks and still make music? It’s because he lives in America. “Land of the free.” His words.

I say he owes some respect to the country that lets him decide whether he wants to stand or sit, speak or be silent, sing or protest without fear of reprisal.