Archive for November 2016
I have now lived through another presidential election. It has had its moments of glory, such as being able to vote for the first female presidential candidate of a major party It has had its moments of blindness, like a ton of millennials and others throwing away their votes. It has had its moments of hope, such as listening to Michelle and Barack Obama speak about the future. And it had its moments of shame, as various states were called in favor of a candidate who has shown himself to be one of the most flawed people ever to run for the office.
It is now over. Donald Trump has been elected. Hillary Clinton has conceded. Trump now claims that he will unify the country. I don’t see how he can do so, given the things he has said about so many different groups of people. I admit to some baggage here. As a native New Yorker, my opinion of our new President is slightly lower than my opinion of the late Robert Moses.
I do know that every new President has a learning curve, during which he or she finds out that the powers of the office are not totally unlimited, and that one has to negotiate with others. I also know that, no matter how good or bad Trump turns out to be, if he does not learn, he is likely to be a one-term president.
I think the next four years will be harder for many of us than we were hoping. I expect that important things will be destroyed by the new President, the still Republican Congress, and a split Supreme Court. David Gerrold has an excellent post on Facebook about what we are likely to lose and why.
What many people are refusing to understand though is where and shy this happened. They did not understand how many Americans are frustrated that neither party seemed to be listening to their concerns. They did not learn the lesson of Weimar Germany, where people who were frustrated allowed an evil man to come to power.
For the next four years, we will have to deal with the results of the willful ignoring of the frustrations and issues of people who feel they have lost their way of life. As my mother used to say, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Am I scared for myself? Yes, some. I am 64, Jewish, disabled, and poor. Will I survive this president? Most likely. More than afraid, though, I am sad that Americans seem to choose to not learn from history, Heck, I’m sad that many Americans don’t even know the history of this country. I’m disappointed that after years of fighting for progress, and toward the ideals of our Founding Fathers, many people have chosen a leader who seems hellbent on tearing down that progress.
I am not screaming for armed revolt. I am not planning on running away. I am planning on surviving the next four years, and then working to ensure that we elect a President whose goals and values are closer to mine. I will also try to remember that this election was largely a revolt by the citizens who felt that our leaders were not listening to their needs and issues, and that even as illustrious a Founding Father as Thomas Jefferson recommended revolting when the country’s leaders were not listening to the people they were elected to serve.
I’m not sure any of this is making sense. It’s 4:29 a.m., and I am mostly trying to frame my thoughts as to how to deal with the bitter-to-me loss of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party.
May whatever Deity you believe in sustain you through the next four years.
Posted November 4, 2016on:
Replying to a comment in my last post got me thinking about the music that has shaped my life.
As anyone who knows me for more than ten minutes knows, one of the two life regrets I have is that I can barely carry a tune on my own. However, I have been a lifelong music fan. (I think the first song I remember hearing on the radio was “Venus,” sung by Frankie Avalon – yes, I AM that old; live with it.)
I was hooked. Not just on the song, but on the way the words and melody fit with each other, the way the sounds came out, the harmonies…. I still am hooked on music all these years later.
As I grew older, I found that the songs I loved had certain characteristics:
- Often, the singer had an unusual voice
- There were complexities in the arrangements – harmonies and counterpoints and descants
- It moved me just by its magnificence
- It had words that rang true to some part of my life
- It had something in it that helped me cope somehow with some part of my life or some issue I was struggling with
Fortunately, my parents also liked music – chores were done to the Texaco Sunday Opera in the background; Dad liked pop music, and was often the one staying up late with me to watch the late night music shows. My Grandma was a fan of The Monkees (long story – ask me elsewhere about that). Mom loved musicals and show tunes and musical comedy such as Danny Kaye, and Allan Sherman. The Beatles hit the US when I was in 5th grade, and their excellent lyrics hooked me even more.
When I got old enough, I started hanging out in Greenwich Village – an excellent place for someone who loved music. There, I fell in love with Richie Havens, Raun MacKinnon, Laura Nyro, David Bromberg, Weeden & Finkle (later Finkle, Weeden and Faye), Christine Lavin, a cappella music, Buzzy Linhart, Eric Frandsen, and so many others.
Then prog rock came along. It had all the complexities I loved, plus Chris Squire – a bassist who often played top line leads with his bass. It also has Phil Colllins and Carl Palmer (I love a good drummer – always have) And brought me more to listen to jazz and classical music.
My taste in music has kept expanding as I’ve grown. To this day, I still hear new stuff and fall in love with it. My friend Gundo can tell you about the first time he showed me the video for “Wheels” by the Foo Fighters. I pretty much fell off his couch when it was done. And Marc can tell you about the time at the Nassau Community College Folk Festival I first heard Richie Havens do an a cappella cover of Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away.” I was literally left speechless. Megan could tell you (if she was still alive) about the first time I heard Tom Paxton perform “The Last Thing on My Mind.” Sue can tell you about how watching the 25th anniversary PBS showing of “Les Miz” not only left me speechless, but gave me two new singer obsessions: Alfie Boe and Norm Lewis.
That said, there are songs that have shaped my life. Sue and Marc have seen the looseleaf where I’d been copying lyrics since the first time I saw “Fiddler on the Roof.”
There are all sorts of sources for those songs, so I will list here some of them, in the hope that you may know and feel the same about them.
- Follow – Richie Havens
- On the Turning Away – Richie Havens a capella version
- You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught – from South Pacific
- If I Loved You – from Carousel
- No Time At All – from Pippin
- If I Never Spend a Morning Without You – Andy M. Stewart and Manus Lunney
- Is A Puzzlement – from The King & I
- Corner of the Sky – from Pippin
- The finale of the Firebird Suite – Igor Stravinsky
- Video – india.arie
- I’m Still Here – Stepehn Sondheim (as performed by Elaine Stritch)
- Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil) – by Yes
- Run with the Fox – Chris Squire
- Too many Paul Simon songs to single any out
- What Makes you DIfferent (Makes You Beautiful) – Backstreet Boys
- Too many Christine Lavin songs to single one out
- Circle of Fifths – Raun MacKinnon
- The Last thing on My Mind – Tom Paxton
- Most songs by Allan Sherman
- Most songs by Tom Lehrer
- Waving Flag by K’naan
- Take me to the Alley by Gregory Porter
- Bring Him Home – from Les Miz
- Way too many other songs to enumerate
So, these are some of the songs that have shaped me in one way or another, and why music is so important to me.