“You Can’t Be Forever Blessed” or No One Gets Away Unscathed

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken

“And many times confused
Yes, and often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’
m alright, I’m alright”

“I’m just weary to my bones”

I wrote about a commercial right before the election that featured words from Paul Simon’s song “American Tune,” and then a few nights ago, Simon himself was on “The Colbert Report” talking about his new book, Lyrics: 1964-2008. I have a real appreciation for Simon’s lyrics. In fact, when I used to teach English, I would always incorporate, “Sound of Silence” in my poetry selections because it is a wonderful lyrical poem, as are many of Simon’s songs.

But “American Tune” is haunting me these days for a number of reasons—politically and personally.  So I was not at all surprised that when Colbert said that Simon was going to sing a song at the end of the show, the song turned out to be “American Tune.” For me, it was one of those signs to which I allude occasionally. Simon’s voice unaccompanied is weaker than in years past, but of course, he is older; as are we all. But his scratchier voice was the perfect sound for this soulful song.

“I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered

I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees”

Do any of you know anyone who hasn’t been affected in some way by what’s going on, with what’s happening out there? I mean, stop and think for a minute. If you don’t know someone who isn’t out of work, surely you know someone who has been affected by the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Is someone you love over there? Have you lost someone you know or love? Is someone you know on the brink of losing their home because they are behind on their mortgage payments? Do you have a friend who is gay who has a longtime partner? Do you know someone who doesn’t have health insurance but has an ongoing health problem? Does your child have someone at his or her school who is homeless?

Did your retirement account lose a significant amount of its worth and now you are having to reconsider when you actually stop working? Do you have a child with special needs? Have you had to curb your spending in any way? Are you thinking of trading in your car for something that uses less gas? Were you thinking of buying a big ticket item, but now you are delaying the purchase because, well, it might be more prudent to wait and see? Are you bringing your lunch more and eating out less?

See. No one can claim to be untouched. It’s like the six degrees of separation. Even if you are on the periphery, it’s still touching you somehow. That is, unless you are part of that uber elite, and then you can turn your head and pretend that it’s not out there. But really, how can you? How can you live in your bubble world so completely oblivious to the suffering of others? But then, why do I bother to ask because as Fitzgerald said: “The rich get richer, and the poor get children.” I suppose that’s how it’s always been.

“Oh, but it’s alright, it’s alright
For we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
Road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong

I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong”

I wonder every day what’s gone wrong, and last night, I felt as if I were dying. I felt as if my soul rose and was looking back down on me and was wondering what in the hell had gone wrong. What’s goes wrong in a country in which a 19-year-old teen commits suicide in front of a live audience on a web cam that he had been blogging with for 12 hours. How could no one notice over that 12 hours that he was getting progressively worse from a drug overdose? Are we so obtuse collectively that we just do not notice what is literally in front of our faces?

“And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly

And I dreamed I was flying”

I used to cry a lot more, and then, for a while, I hardly ever cried.  Someone sent me one of those e-mail updates, and it had a question that asked when I had last cried, and I honestly couldn’t remember. But in the last three months, it seems that I cry all of the time. I think that it’s a combination of the larger things and the smaller things. For example, Obama’s speeches make me cry. I cried when the Democrats took Virginia. Obviously I cried when Obama won the presidency. But I also cried when I saw the “American Tune” commercial. I cried when I read about Addie Polk shooting herself in the chest so that she wouldn’t be evicted. I cried over last week’s episode of “ER” and the entire last few episodes of last season’s “House,” which devastated me. I couldn’t even delete the shows from my DVR for weeks. It was too personal.

slow-boat-to-the-moon
Slow Boat to the Moon

So last night, I had one of those cathartic cries that came out of nowhere and resulted with my body curled into the fetal position and my face in a pillow. Then, I finally realized that today is the seventh anniversary of my father’s death. November absolutely sucks for bad anniversaries for me.  Unlike with my daughter, I wasn’t with my father when he died, something that I will probably always regret.

But I still feel my dad’s presence often, not in that wacky, seance kind of your father is here, knock on the table kind of way. But at times, I know, just somehow know, that my dad is still with me. But not last night. So I had my little breakdown, which led to this entry on an “American Tune,” because in the end, even with all of the weariness and displacement of which it speaks, in the end, it’s all right. And I like the fact the we come on “a ship that sailed the moon.”

“We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the a-ges most uncertain hours
And sing an american tune
Oh, and its alright, its alright, it’s alright
You can’t be forever blessed”

There will be more later. Peace.

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One Day to Go and Some Important Information You Should Know

Your Voting Rights

Myths, Untruths and Outright Lies

These are some of the untruths being spread that may keep voters from going to the polls tomorrow. Please do not believe any of them:

  • If you have an unpaid parking ticket, you cannot vote, or you will be arrested at the polls it you attempt to vote.
  • If your house is in foreclosure, you cannot vote
  • If you do not have a valid driver’s license you cannot vote. Bring your voter ID card, a bank statement, or a utility bill with your name and address printed on the bill, and they have to take this as a form of identification.
  • If you are an out-of-state student, you absolutely CAN vote where you go to school, even if your parents claimed you on their income tax.
  • Some states do prevent you from voting if you are wearing campaign t-shirts, pins, hats, etc, Virginia included, so be prepared. Just bring a garbage bag. Don’t make a scene. Just cover up. Don’t let them take away your right to vote.
  • You cannot vote over the telephone, and do not let anyone tell you that you can. That vote will not count.
  • If the name on your driver’s license and your voter registration don’t match exactly, don’t let them tell you that you cannot vote. Ask to vote provisionally and then straighten out the mix-up the following day. Usually it is a difference in the middle name, as in one being spelled out and the other being an initial. Don’t let them turn you away if you know that you are legally registered to vote.
  • And remember, if you are in line by 7 p.m., you will be able to vote. The polls will not close as long as you are in line.

Never Thought I’d Want to See A Campaign Ad On the Air Sooner

This ad ran this past weekend on MSNBC and CNN, and it was sponsored by Progressive Future. I have to say that I think that it ranks right up there as one of the best political ads that I’ve seen in a long, long time. I’m going to include the verbiage that Progressive Future included on their site because I think that its a good message.

The title, “American Tune*” is the name of the Paul Simon song in case you’re banging your head against the wall trying to figure it out (like I was):

American Tune

   

Americans are struggling.

RealtyTrac® reports that from October 2008, home foreclosures have increased 21 percent from September 2007; one in every 475 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in September 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment numbers stayed at over six percent, or nearly 10 million, unemployed in September.  The National Coalition on Health Care reports 47 million Americans are without health care insurance.

We need a new direction.    

That’s why we’re supporting Barack Obama for President, and that’s why we’re running this ad on CNN and MSNBC this weekend.

Watch the video on right and use the form to share it with your friends.

Progressive Future is responsible for the content of this advertising. Paid for by Progressive Future at http://www.progressivefuture.org. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

 

Wasn’t that inspiring???

 

Polls Open At 6 A.M.

Now Get Out There And Vote!!!

Peace.

 

*Lyrics to “American Tune” (words and music by Paul Simon)

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it’s all right, it’s all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it’s alright, it’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest