It’s Not Over…

I’ve been feeling stunned and disheartened and — yes — terrified by the events unfolding recently here in the USA.

Maybe you have been feeling something similar.

And I have been wondering — yet again — how music might in some small way help to heal the soul of our country.

I shared a blog post 14 months ago which featured a song I co-wrote called “Let The Day Unfold” and which I recorded using Apple’s wonderful GarageBand program.

You can click here for a link to that blog post if you are curious.

The version I am sharing at the top of today’s blog post is a stripped down piano + vocal recording I made with the wonderful pianist Doug Hammer at his studio north of Boston.

There are so many things one could write about recent events here in the USA that I find it hard to know where to begin.

Here are just a few thoughts that have jumped out at me…

Many white Americans I have seen on TV (and heard on the radio and read online) who have been attempting to make sense out of what recently transpired in our nation’s capital have said things like, “This is not who we are as a country.”

And many people of color have responded — respectfully and persistently — by saying, “Actually, this IS who we are as a country. This IS who we have been as a country for hundreds of years.”

I have found that when I listen to the news nowadays, all I want to hear is what people of color are saying, thinking, feeling and yes — for what must feel like the umpteenth time to them — explaining to the rest of us.

They have lived with violence and threats of violence and terrorist acts — such as public murders/lynchings — for generation after generation after generation.

And — as one woman’s extraordinarily articulate and passionate viral video this summer further explained — they are not (amazing to me…) seeking vengeance.

They are seeking justice.

In recent days I have heard several African-American college historians explain, and re-explain, and explain yet again how every advance made by people of color in this country has been met by a huge — and terrifying — backlash from unhappy (and extremely vengeful) white folks.

They have pointed to our recent election of the first African-American/South Asian-American woman as vice president as well as the election of the first African-American and Jewish-American US senators from the southern state of Georgia as being one of the precipitating factors in the white mob take-over of our Capital building last Wednesday.

Ashton Lattimore, in a recent Prism report explains:

“Any flex of political power by Black and brown people in the United States (is) followed by a reactionary white supremacist show of force. The pattern of racist white backlash to the barest hint of racial progress has persisted since the earliest days of the republic up until now, from antebellum white mobs attacking free Black people essentially just for existing, to the Civil War itself and post-Reconstruction violence punishing Black self-determination in Tulsa, to the violent resistance to the civil rights movement, and then the enraged, panicked genesis of the Tea Party and the Trump era immediately after the election of the first Black president. Against that historical backdrop, the white insurrectionist takeover of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was as predictable as a pendulum’s swing.”

You can read her entire article by clicking here.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

My brain now turns to is something I read earlier today.

A Republican congressman was explaining why many of his colleagues in the House of Representatives continue to support the charade of voter fraud even after an angry mob had burst into the Capitol building and sent them all into hiding.

According to him, they are scared about the safety of their family members.

That’s what terrorism does.

It makes people scared.

I empathize with these scared congressmen and congresswomen AND I want to say to them, “Do you get it now?! This is what people of color have been living with for hundreds of years! Do you get it now?!”

I wonder if any of them do or will.

I have certainly been slow to get it — or at least to begin to get it…

Another deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

I chose photographs of sunrises for this blog post from the Pixabay website because I am guessing that most of us have already seen more than enough disturbing images from our nation’s capital.

I hope you are finding ways — going for a well-masked walk, stretching, visiting with loved ones via Zoom, singing, praying, writing, cooking, etc. — to keep well during this seemingly-ever-more-challenging time in our lives.

I offer my (perhaps now familiar) thanks for food, for shelter, for employment, for electricity, for internet access, for running water, for soap, for friends and family, for Doug Hammer, and for my fellow bloggers.

Let the day unfold… this life is wide open.

Every plan we make… can be broken.

We’ve got to find the strength to lose some of our cherished point of views…

We’ve got to have hope… it’s not over!

ps: I am aware that the correct grammar for the chorus of “Let The Day Unfold” is “cherished pointS of view,” but that didn’t rhyme as well.

pps: If you are wanting to hear even more music which might comfort and/or inspire your spirit, you are welcome to visit the mini-website which songwriter Barbara Baig and I have started to honor her (similarly titled) song “Let Me Be Strong.”

We’d love to hear from you there!

ppps: You are also welcome to visit my website, and you can find me on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and other digital music platforms.

53 thoughts on “It’s Not Over…

    • Trump’s coup attempt has failed. That’s the good news. The bad news is that his supporters still believe the false narrative, the Big Lie that he won the election. Trump has not repudiated it, nor have the House and Senate Republicans who voted against the Electoral College results. Millions of people still think the election was stolen. They still support Trump the person, not the Republican Party, and many are prepared to take further action on his behalf. –

      • Yes. Some combination of fear (for themselves and their family members) and lust for power/money/influence and g-d only knows what else is keeping many Republicans — or as Chris Cuomo calls them “Retrumplicans” — from publicly affirming the truth about our recent elections. It’s going to be a long haul back to some sort of respectful equilibrium… Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

  1. Thank you Will for your compassionate heart, song, and words. You remind me there is much more to the recent events than I realize and how hard it is and has been for people of color. May I learn to embrace more points of view and compassion.

  2. Will , a lovely post which shows emphathy for people of colour …when I hear the words it is not over yet that scares me…I am always asking myself why about many things…A lovely post 🙂

    • Yes. It’s not over can refer to so many different points of view right now… I am hoping that democracy in the USA is not over. Other folks are hoping that their fight against what they have been told over and over and over and over and over again was a fraudulent election (even before the election began!) is not over… We shall see what unfolds!

      • We shall see… I am hoping for a profound commitment to justice and accountability in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. Without justice and accountability, folks will continue to think it’s OK to spread lies for political power. One promising recent step is a major conservative radio network telling its DJs that they will be fired if they continue to lie about our country’s recent election results. And Forbes Magazine recently published an editorial saying that companies who hire former staffers from our current presidential team (who consistently lied to the public as part of their job) will not be trusted by Forbes to tell the truth in the future and will be investigated extensively as a result. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

  3. May I offer a word of encouragement, Will? I lived through the domestic terrorism in the UK from IRA/Loyalist parties. As a minority Catholic in Scotland, our high school had endless bomb threats which meant evacuation. Then there were the real bombs. We were taught self defense at school to protect us from bullies with other beliefs. Much later we moved to Cairo and the 2nd Gulf War broke out with the imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction. There were a few riots and heckling but the strength of those self defense lessons kept my back straight. In both cases, the majority of folks were not extremists but those people affected everyone else. Life changes and although I live in Whoville, I am always on alert when traveling or working at the airport. America’s belief that is was great was just an illusion but it can be good if we work very hard to address our history and inequalities. Your writing is excellent and measured.

  4. Your words are heartfelt Will, your thoughts profound and the music inspiring. Nothing is as it seems and as the days and weeks unfold the world is going to know the truth. There are monumental changes coming. And you’re right about one thing, it’s definitely not over.

  5. I appreciate looking at this through the lens of color. I don’t do that enough myself, I think, and it’s needed. But I do worry about looking at this whole situation only through that lens. I think many, if not most, of the people who rioted on January 6th were there simply because they believed Donald Trump when he said the election was stolen. That reason and only that reason. (on a side note, I do NOT think the election was stolen. I think Biden is the rightful president-elect) Still, I’m very thankful for your post and thankful for your thoughts. It’s a way of looking at things in the US I don’t do enough of.

    • Thank you for reading and listening and leaving such a thoughtful comment! There are undoubtedly many layers of reasons why folks were motivated to go to DC last week and why a bunch of them decided to break into the Capitol. The lens of African-American history/experience is just one to use. Another one might be class-related, with compelling historical data about why/how an ever smaller-minority of folks on planet earth are reaping an ever-larger piece of the profits/pie from everyone’s labors. A lot of elected officials and media outlets did choose to spread and re-spread and spread some more a story about a stolen election — and I can certainly understand how I might believe that was true if I listened to those media outlets and politicians. Now we shall see how justice (not revenge, I hope) unfolds in these not-very-united states…

  6. Will, your words are perceptive and thoughtful. ‘Let the day unfold’ is a beautiful song and I feel it.

    Your post and Ashton’s words gifted a breakthrough moment. I spent all of my teenage years in Africa, in the middle of a growing war. I sense and feel people’s energy in colours, so my perspective was that I don’t judge on racial colour. I didn’t see myself as racist and your post cracked that wide open. From my navigational beacons, I was taking a narrow lane. Of course, the whole eruption that is playing out in your country is racially biased, I didn’t see it till I read your post. America is not white, nor great and never has been. Storming the capitol building is a desperate attempt to hold onto a false position. As you so eloquently say, ‘And many people of colour have responded — respectfully and persistently — by saying, “Actually, this IS who we are as a country. This IS who we have been as a country for hundreds of years.”’ It is not just your country either, we all share this false position.

    As we listen and hear clearly (at long last), may we all be able to hold each other with love and respect.

    • Wow. THANK YOU, Jane, for reading and listening and reflecting and commenting in such a profound way. I’ve definitely been taking a narrow and (as a white man who was blessed with great educational opportunities + a middle-class upbringing_ privileged lane for most of my life. I started to have a few glimmers of awareness about how different my African-American friends’ experiences were — on a DAILY basis — about 20 years ago, when my workplace gathered all employees + a facilitator together to share what it was like working together in Harvard Square, Cambridge. I learned that my fellow black employees were often followed around local stores that all of us frequented, for example. This was my first glimpse into the accumulated toll of macro- and micro-aggressions my co-workers were experiencing. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I truly appreciate interacting with you, Jane, via WordPress! Did you spend your teen years in South Africa or what used to be known as Rhodesia or another country in the process of change?

      • Hello Will, yes, it is a blessing to be able to talk to you over WP.
        I was in Rhodesia from 1973 to 1977 and then South Africa till 1982. My soul tore at apartheid, which was so blatant. What has been happening in your country and mine for hundreds of years is far more insidious.

        What strikes me is the words that are being used. Whenever the phrase ‘You are racist’ or ‘That is racist’ or anything of that ilke is said, it shuts down any kind of debate and discussion. We can divide with our words. ‘Tell me more’ is a powerful phrase to use. We all have our lanes of thinking, in our comfort zones, and to truly open this up and turn a fresh page of history, open debate is vital. Will the discussions be uncomfortable? Undoubtedly, as they will make us look at ourselves. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

      • I heard these lines from Langston Hughes’s poem ‘Let America be America again’ :

        O, let America be America again—
        The land that never has been yet—
        And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

    • Thank you, Jennie! So much fear in these not-very-united-states… which often then creates MORE fear. Deep sigh. However, the more I listen to African-Americans talk about what’s going on right now (and what’s been going on for the past 400 years) however, the more hope I get because of the resiliency and deep-heartedness and perseverance and non-vengeful spirit I see in action. I hope you remain warm and well on this rainy day.

  7. The soul of the country not to heal any time soon when the most corrupt act on American soil has just been carried out!

    You have great reason to live in fear with Biden and the severely sick. Severely corrupt left about to take over!!

    Those of us on the side of truth KNOW what Trump was attempting to do for our country. Those of us who know God is truly the one in charge not a bunch of satanic demonic politicians. They’re on both sides of the aisle so don’t think this favors one party over the other.

    Truth will prevail bc its in God’s hands! Hope some how you find your way out of fear TO THE TRUTH!
    Best wishes as it sounds Iike you’re really going to need it!

  8. You include and inform SO much here. Yes, I’ve felt the same when I hear people say “this is not our country.” Ummm, well, yes it is. It’s part of who we are, and the violent racist, white supremacist part is what we’d like to change – how? Education is a huge element that needs to be addressed. I’ve always said that any political party that wants to make their country more peaceful and kind and strong needs to place education as a No. 1 priority.
    When I was in grad school my thesis was on “Contemporary black American expatriate writers.” Me, a 20-something white woman. Long story of how I got there (as in I wanted to write about women writers but was told there weren’t enough “good ones” to write an entire thesis). But that’s another subject. Good news for me is that I read and studied and wrote about the writings of Richard Wright and James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, etc., and I began to understand racism in America so much more. Like I said, EDUCATION.

    • Yes! Education! And what a thesis you ended up writing in YOUR pursuit of higher learning!!! I just saw a TV segment about a recently-retired history teacher and retired brigadier general from West Point who grew up in VA idolizing Robert E. Lee. His thinking has evolved significantly, and now he has written a book called ROBERT E. LEE AND ME as part of the process of dismantling a narrative of Lee as a hero/patriot/martyr which arose in the years following our Civil War. In this short interview he explained how historically at West Point, every advance in civil rights for African-Americans was met with a new monument of Lee being erected or barrack being named in his honor. I wonder what historical ripples will result from Lloyd Austin being confirmed as our first African-American Secretary of Defense…

    • Wow. You read and listened to TWO of my blog posts! THANK YOU for devoting so many precious minutes of your life to bearing witness to my recordings + thoughts/feelings. Very gratefully yours, Will

    • You are very welcome, Kally. I have been feeling very uninspired to write a new blog post in recent weeks — so I am delighted that something I wrote in the past has helped to motivate YOU!

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