Cradle to Stage Recap: Mary and Tom Morello

The quandary of activism is often that it will seek change within a societal system by using that same system to do so. The frustration of this is that no matter how much change is brought, the system will always be there. It makes sense that the band Tom Morello has played for is called Rage Against the Machine, since raging against a non-stop, always present system that doesn’t always want to change is bound to make people feel a certain way. And yet, for all that, Tom sounds like a pretty happy person, despite everything that he and his mother had to go through in life with her being a white woman raising a half-black kid in a neighborhood where it almost sounds as though they might have just barely been welcome. Upon learning more about Mary Morello, however, it’s easy to think that she wasn’t going to be moved from her convictions and that anyone that had a problem with them could pound sand for all she cared.

This is the type of fierce and yet caring individual that ends up raising someone that is both socially conscious and can still work within the system they oppose at times, creating change when it’s needed and educating those that don’t yet know what their rights are or how to take them when necessary. In many ways, it feels as though there are quite a few people that might have disagreed with Mary and her stance on a number of things over the years, and it’s likely this has happened. But thinking that she’s stood her ground when she needed to and accepted what she could is also quite simple since simply listening to her and watching her facial expressions displays a life that has been spent not always in joy and the carefree nature of one who is open to the world, but also one that has seen the iniquities of humanity and has toiled against them as much as she can. 

These days it doesn’t sound as though Mary has stopped, and it’s likely that she won’t stop until her body tells her to when it comes to spreading her message throughout the world. Some might not agree with her, some might praise her for such a message, and some might even watch in great interest from afar, but the point is that she’s hard, if not impossible to ignore, as is the message of her life. Tom Morello’s life could have gone very differently had his mother not been the kind of woman she’s been for so long, namely a fierce individual that won’t yield in her beliefs and will stand up for those that don’t know how to stand up for themselves. It’s very true that she might not always agree with everyone, but it does appear that she seeks to respect others and stand for them even if they won’t stand for themselves.

Mary is one of many unique people in the world that has been supportive of her son from the time he was little and has been worldly enough to have a very interesting take on life and what it means to many, as well as herself. To grow up with such a mother around, it’s not much wonder that Tom turned out the way he did, as some parents might have been shocked that he disregarded a degree from Harvard when it came to achieving his dream. Mary simply supported him from day one, making it clear that he was her world, and that she was there for him every step of the way. 

Coming to the understanding that both Dave and Tom had to grow up without their fathers in their lives at different points speaks of a hardship that too many people in this country deal with on a regular basis, though with Tom, the realization was that his father wasn’t part of his life for a very distinct reason. It would appear that Dave’s father was a part of his life, but not such an integral part that he felt the need to associate with him much. On the other hand, once Tom met his father at the age of 38, a relationship grew that feels as though it might be overwhelmingly positive. Both musicians have gone through a great deal of struggle in their lives, and it’s evident that their mothers have been there for them through the good times and the bad, and haven’t just protected their sons from the world, when they could, but have shown them how to be the men they eventually came to be. It’s true that not having a father in the home can lead to instability in a child’s life, but it’s not a foregone conclusion. There are plenty of good men, like Tom and Dave, that exist to prove this. 

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