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Thoughts On Listening To *This Land Is Your Land”

 

I had a dream today, got me thinking,

On the bus on the way home from work,

A dream I’ve had before,

A dream many have probably had

I was on television, talking and singing,

The whole world was a’ watchin’

Woody Guthrie was a’ watchin’

Pete Seeger, he was a ’watchin’

Bruce Springsteen, he was a ’watchin’

And old orange face, Mr. Trump, he was a ’watchin’ too

Kept droppin’ the big TV remote outta his small hands, poor thing,

Anyways, like I said, I was on TV,

Had a guitar in my hands,

Strapped over my favorite flannel shirt,

And my favorite pair of Levis

And my bestest boots. I was a’ wearing all of that

And the song I was gonna sing,

This Land Is Your Land,

Well it weren’t no regular song, sir,

It was, I reckon, one of the most beautiful songs

I ever heard, I was telling people about it,

It was all about this country of ours,

And all its’ natural beauty,

And how it was built for you,

And built for me

And how it was built for him,

And him,

And her

And her

And the preacher

And the doctor

And the lawman

And the bus driver

And the children playing in the schoolyard,

Sir it was built for them too,

It didn’t make no mention of names

Nor what school they went to,

Nor even if they didn’t go to school, well it didn’t mention that neither

Nor what church they go to, who they pray to, iffn they pray at all,

No, sir, not even where they come from,

Not which part of town, not which coast,

Not which country,

Cuz everybody here comes from someplace else in the long run, don’t they?

Iffn ya trace it back far enough, I mean, we all come from immigrants

– Well, almost all of us –

Yes, sir, the song was plain and simple and beautiful, and indeed

This here land was made for you, and me, and him, and him, and her, and her

All to share equally, don’t that sound like a place you wanna live in, sir?

I know I would, if I could find it.

What say we find it together, sir?

 

 

Click the link below to listen to This Land is Your Land – Live by Bruce Springsteen
https://open.spotify.com/track/4MvJlIpDpdZi4sCXvAhrym

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I have a new favorite song!! The lyrics are strong but so very correct. We all know, or most of us know, or have met at least one racist in our lives, or someone who is “soft” about racism. They tell you they aren’t, but laugh at racist jokes, maybe even tell them, but they assure you, they “don’t believe this way”. I remember when I lived in NW Portland. I had just repainted and refurnished my flat. I threw a party. A boyfriend of one of my cowokers told me and my guests a racist joke, he made sure he had everyones attention. I was mortified!! I looked him right in the eye and told him that racism is forbidden in my house and my life. I asked him why he would think it was acceptable. We had never met before that night. I apologized to my coworker and tgen told him he needed to leave, immediately. He then said that he “wasn’t that way, but wanted to see my reaction”. I responded; ” Well, now you’ve seen it. I hope you hesitate the next time you want to tell such a crass joke”. 

This is one of the strongest ways to help people realize just how unacceptable racism is. It hits in the head like a baseball bat and we need to stand up with all of our strength against it. The more we make it known PRECISELY how unnacceptable it is, the more uncomfortable it becomes. Education is a strong tool. Use it in positive ways. Use it with strength.  

Here are the lyrics; 
If you have a racist friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For your friendship to end

Be it your sister, be it your brother

Be it your cousin, or your uncle, or your lover

If you have a racist friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For your friendship to end

Be it your best friend, or any other

Is it your husband, or your father, or your mother

Either change their views

Or change your friends

If you have a racist friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For your friendship to end

So if you know a racist who thinks he is your friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For your friendship to end

Call yourself my friend

Now is the time to make up your mind

Don’t try to pretend

Be it your sister, be it your brother

Be it your cousin, or your uncle, or your lover

So if you have a racist friend

Now is the time, now is the time

For our friendship to end

#NowPlaying Racist Friend – P3 Version by Naomi Pilgrim 

https://open.spotify.com/track/72OqDR7ynES3bChfTMNRzW

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With, of course, all due respect to the brilliance of Gil Scot Heron, this time the revolution WILL be televised, send around the world live as a show of solidarity for all our brothers and sisters as they face their own struggle against the forces of facism and oppression, eager to wake to a new dawn where gender, race, sexuality, intellect, looks, nor religion are no longer a factor in determining one’s self-worth nor the individuals contribution to society. The revolution will be televised. It will be sponsored by the prayers of mothers in Aleppo, the fears of children in Gaza, the cries of hungry children of unemployed factory workers in Detroit and Portland, by the pain of migrant workers in the vineyards of California, by the single mother working three jobs to feed her child because some Trump- loving bureaucrat with no heart cut the funding that helped pay her rent while she finished her high school degree, the revolution will be televised the revolution will be televised the revolution will be televised. The revolution will be live!! #NowPlaying the revolution will be televised by Dan Hass https://open.spotify.com/user/danandinger/playlist/4bnyLrSGvNVfBEhNrUDOK0

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Slumber, like a stream in winter

Barely flowing on

Gentle flow from world to world

Only in this non-world

Can Trayvon, Doma, Malcom and Medger be forgotten

But even here, the new one,

Orange skin and small hands

Squeezing its way into my silence,

Growling into my sleep

With the voice of a hyena,

“Give me your freedom”.

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I see my father sleeping

The only peace he knows is sleep

Should we wake him?

I see him sleeping

And recall my youthful dreams of him.

All dreams, I suppose, begin in youth.

The young can afford to dream.

Smokestacks become cathedral spires,

Then our aspirations, fueled by the noble half of our nature,

Grow higher, less noble, less precise,

And ultimately, out of reach.

Shall we tease him, throwing stones at his front door

And then run away like children?

Or shall we seek out others,

Who blindly rest, secure in his bosom,

Enticing them to fight our fights against him,

By tempting their fears and prejudices,

Knowing all the while that he will protect us?

But our father sleeps

Wishing to share the dreams

Of the children he has lost

But in his slumber, he cannot protect

Those who die in the streets everyday.

 

I see the other dreams vanishing also,

I see them vanishing on the faces of children who cannot eat,

Of adults who cannot read,

In the despair of a nation that cannot hope

I see America dazed and I don’t know why
I see America sleeping

Weeping, angry, I look upon that which I once called Father

And I see the blissful ignorance that only sleep can provide

A noble, slumbering, drunken giant such as him,

Asleep  on an ashen bed that once was our hopes,

But I cannot forget, I cannot forgive,

And I want to whisper into his good ear the words

“WAKE UP”

I wrote this a number of years ago. I believe it might have been during George Bush “the lessers” administration. I suppose the text more or less speaks for itself as to my intent and thought at the time. But when I read it now, it seems  to be still naive, still wanting America to be something like a Rockwell painting, or in the spirit of Whitman s’ poem “I Hear America Singing” where, to quote the cliffs notes review;

“The poet thinks of America as the “centre of equal daughters, equal sons,” who are “strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable,” and who identify themselves with “Freedom, Law and Love.” He salutes America as the “grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,” who is “chair’d in the adamant of Time.”

This short poem is a reassertion of the poet’s faith in the destiny of the American nation. It demonstrates his love of the masses, his devotion to democracy, and his belief that in responding to the call of a democratic process, America is fulfilling a spiritual need of her people.”  ( Link is here; https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/l/leaves-of-grass/summary-and-analysis-calamus/america)

Perhaps I still saw my homeland with the blinders of white privilege. Perhaps I still hadn’t thought far enough ahead to foresee the possibility that America could ever elect such a nepotist, such a fascist, a racist, and a disgustingly misogynist president. I hadn’t foreseen at that time the divisions that are ripping our nation apart or that such enormous division could even take place in this country with such high ideals to the point where one candidate could ever call the supporters of the other “deplorable”.

I’m not disagreeing with Hillary about that point, to be frank. I was and still am, in total agreement with that perception and was more than a bit disappointed when she apologized for saying it, although I understood completely.

I suppose what makes me sad when i reread this poem now, is that I don’t see America ever getting back to what the founding fathers had in mind.I don’t see our racial divides closing. I don’t see prejudice of any kind dwindling out of our consciousness. I don’t see the poor being fed, the illiterate being taught,I don’t see the immigrants being welcomed and given a new beginning. I don’t see poverty ending. I don’t see the homeless camps in the cities coming down. I remember being so disappointed when I heard a family member saying how much he hated them, how he would get almost violently angry when he drove by them. I don’t see America ever again telling immigrants to “give us your poor, your tired, your hungry” or at least if they did say it, i couldn’t believe in the earnestness of it without being very afraid of what those who have struggled might face upon arrival.What persecution they will face, what  hatred which was once unthinkable but now so commonplace will they face. Sadly, even the handicapped are not immune to ridicule, as the now infamous video clip proves. As Meryl Streep pointed out so well, whether or not it was the “Orangemans” intent to ridicule is secondary to the fact that by doing what he did, it now became acceptable to the rest of his deplorables.Bullying was immediately changed from something we were trying to eliminate to acceptable in one thoughtless moment. He has been shown numerous times publicly inciting his followers to violence against those who disagree with him, He has shown in simple terms the most vile contempt against any who have the courage to point to his many “mistakes of judgement”.

If America is to have any chance of returning to it’s ideals, or should I say finding them for the first time, it cannot sit idly by. It needs all of us to be watchful and alert. It needs all of us to refute and refuse to accept Trumps ideals as our own. It needs idols. It needs statespeople. It needs to find the strength to stand up. It needs, more than ever, to WAKE UP!!

 

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Casablanca_126Pyxurz.jpg

 

 

A very interesting article about Trump, truth and idiocy gone amuck. What happens when the truth, as a construct, as a parameter and as a way of life gets basically thrown out with the waste water? Well, for one thing, people like Trump get taken seriously. Their lies and coverups are never questioned, fake news replaces proper reportage, and all of our constructs, everything that our society is based upon explodes.

Tell me, dear reader, if any of this sounds familiar, this is, of course, a quote from the original;

We already know that in America you can be arrested for suspected petty theft and wind up imprisoned, untried, for years. We already know that in America you can be pulled over for a burned out taillight and wind up dead at the hands of police. In America you can be raped and the odds are overwhelmingly high that your rapist will walk free. These things shouldn’t happen, and yet they do. These things don’t affect you personally, until they do. You might think that these things happen because you are the wrong color, or the wrong gender, or the wrong religion. But right now in America the boundaries of right and wrong are shifting dangerously.

What are the truths? What are the lies? More importantly, how can we know the difference?

Notes from the Resistance: A Column on Language and Power Summer Brennan, In Defense of Linguistic Infrastructure

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This is so spot on!  A fascinatingly scary article about Trump, and the hatred behind his election. Written BEFORE the election, it so accurately reflects Americas state of mind. To quote a part of the article; ” This is not my grief, I do not own it, I cannot appropriate it, but it is my grief as an American, and I’m reminded of that line in David Wojnarowicz’s jeremiad, Close to the Knives, lines that I could tattoo on my ever expanding and discontented body, I’ve quoted them so often: “I want to throw up because we’re supposed to quietly and politely make house in this killing machine called America and pay taxes to support our own slow murder and I’m amazed we’re not running amok in the streets, and that we can still be capable of gestures of loving after lifetimes of all this.” ”

 

Read and be afraid!

/Postcard from America Trying to process. By Kate Zambreno

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