Here is a new song called “All That’s Left” we’ve just finished recording at the Magpie Cage. It is about working through our conceits and expressing anger, if needed, in order to dream better things. Until love is all that’s left.
I hear the refrain while walking around a frenetic Washington this week, anticipating a heartbreaking presidential inauguration. There are a thousand white chairs set in front of the Lincoln Memorial; video screens and loudspeakers blaring “Glory, Glory Hallelujah.” It does not feel glorious. Friends fear losing healthcare and being targeted by hate. We will have to protect the people and ideas we care about.
Yet I suppose I think more about my personal life, its heartbreaks and responsibilities. And the voice I hear within on both counts, the political and the personal, is tired of absolutes and certainties. I don’t want to characterize people. Reducing another person makes it easier to dismiss their view and elevate my own. In almost every situation I bother to investigate, there is more truth in that person’s understanding than I anticipated. Someone’s hard experiences for which I failed to account.
I want to be pulled further into life. To understand people as best I can. We will have to take stands and sides. I won’t shy from that. But we seem limited without more empathy and nuance.
If we are concerned that we can no longer make progress through a forgiving method, this article in Yes! Magazine may help. It is a brief accounting of how advocates working together across borders teamed up with public servants from small and developing countries to defeat the world’s most powerful corporate lobbies at the world’s largest commercial negotiation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and saved lives. It took years, but we did it, quietly and mostly out of public view, slowly earning one another’s trust.
There are always people doing good work quietly, even in our government. And a lot of good we make together.
That said, if what you feel today is rather some ripping protest music, then check out this awesome new release from Channels.
Making it through today, see you in the streets tomorrow, -Peter