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!