Friday, September 02, 2011

August 27,2011

Dear Sis~
Two days ago a unanimous Florida Supreme Court rejected Manny Valle's challenge to the new lethal injection drug (pentobarbitol) and affirmed his Sept 1st execution date.  So, that's going to happen...
Well, last week you endured the earthquake centered just 40  miles from your house and now you're being pounded by hurricane Irene.  Hopefully, this is your quota of natural disasters for the year...
I just enjoyed a fine PBS program, part of their American Masters series, which is an apt title considering the subject, the great folk singer Pete Seeger (the episode is titled Pete Seeger: The Power of Song). Pete is a beautiful, old soul and the epitomy of an American Master.  The program, despite the meanness of the treatment often accorded Pete, greatly uplifted my spirit and reminded me of the best things of this nation, which is the spirit of the people and not its material wealth or greatness of power.   Hearing again all of those wonderful, powerful ballads washed me in a flood of childhood memories, even though back then in the early 1960's I was too emotionally immature and spiritually ignorant to fathom the true, deeper messages of those songs - peace, love, brotherhood, justice, equality.  Watching this moving, poignant program I felt (again) so disappointed in myself, in my failure as a youngster to be awake to the values expressed by the songs (by the times), my failure to find my better half and follow the path espoused by those songs that I mindlessly sang around the campfire.  While Pete was singing his anti-war songs in the early sixties I was fully indoctrinated by the system, foolishly and eagerly anticipating the day I'd be old enough to join the army, march off to war in Vietnam, kill those godless Commies and return home a John Wayne hero.  What a damn fool I was, shallow and superficial, unable to think for myself.  I was sure drinking the Kool-Aid back then!  Meanwhile, Pete gave his all to the values he believed in.  He spent decades being vilified and blacklisted (unable to work) by the mindless mob, the right-wing elements of the power structure - from the FBI to Congress to the Republican Party - simply because he dared to challenge the pro-war agenda then dominating our culture, because he had the temerity to suggest that peace, love, brotherhood and justice were worthy aspirations for us and our children.  Throughout it all, Pete never stopped loving our country, never doubted the essential goodness of the people.  Pete Seeger has come full circle in the autumn of his life; he's an icon, and deservedly so, exemplifying the true spirit of this nation, everything that is good and right about America.  What a beautiful spirit he is!
Love, Bill

1 comment:

Joe said...

I love Bill and support him and agree with much of what he says, but he's just a tad naive about Seeger.

There is certainly a lot to admire about Pete, as a performer and activist, and I'm not given to the typical American often paranoid 'pinkophobia'. But much of the criticism of Seeger's politics is quite reasonable. He was for many years an apologist and defender of Stalin, long after virtually all leftists acknowledged he was an indefensible monster. He did eventually apologize for this, but much too late (just a few years ago in fact). He also has often pandered to anti-semitic black radicals such as Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton (back in the days when Sharpton was universally acknowledged as a divisive, racist demagogue).

So, again, I love Bill, and I like Seeger, but he (Seeger) is not quite as noble as Bill seems to think. Like all of is, he has some serious flaws and mistakes.

Anyway, all the best to Bill and his sis, as well as her dog.