Vermont folk artists come together for a performance of Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land
My students were more restless than usual yesterday. And though it’s tempting to conflate their behavior with the unrest and uncertainty that has surrounded President Trump’s ascension, and the ending of an era for another, more humble President, one that looked more like them than ever before, I know better. In the inner city, students spend what little energy and attention they can muster on the lowest tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; end-of-term hopelessness, mingled with the daily grind of poverty and impossibility, is enough to explain their malaise, and empathize with it enough to double down on the markers of care and comfort I work to bring to my daily practice with each of them, and with all.
It’s a volatile time in America. Yesterday’s destructive attacks on the symbols of high capitalism kept me up late; last week’s cabinet hearings did, too. Our discourse is fragmented, and too often tinged with anger, even as, across the globe, we raise our voices in hopeful determination, even as we worry that only we are listening to ourselves.
I’m not marching today; though we had originally hoped to make it to Boston, family illness, kids far behind in their coursework, and end of term grading weigh heavily on the mind and soul. We are not ashamed, for living out loud in America proudly and well is as important as protest, in the end. But we are tracking, carefully, those who are: in Washington, Boston, New York; in smaller communities across the nation. Their smiles and pink hats fill our Facebook feed; their joy and purpose flowing like a mighty river in video posts and status updates as they converge on the centers of their communities, and raise their signs.
Our spirit is lifted as America unfolds before us. There is hope here, the candlefire of the determined spirit magnified a millionfold as the power of the people, gathered together, burns bright.
There’s new songs on the backburner, an undiscovered coverfolk country on the horizon. But today, we put aside the new and novel to embrace history in our midst with a soundtrack of sorts, with songs determined and patriotic, melancholy and uplifting in equal measure.
May those who march today find their journey light, their voices heard, their stamina great and their conviction strong. May love prevail across this great land we love.
- Quiles & Cloud: Ring Them Bells (orig. Bob Dylan) 
- Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer: Democracy (orig. Leonard Cohen) 
- The Gaslight Tinkers: Quite Early Morning (orig. Pete Seeger) 
- Lucy Kaplansky: This Morning I Am Born Again (orig. Woody Guthrie) 
- Dave Rawlings Machine: I Hear Them All (orig. Old Crow Medicine Show) 
- Lizzie West & The White Buffalo: Get Up, Stand Up (orig. Bob Marley) 
- Martin Sexton: For What It’s Worth (orig. Buffalo Springfield) 
- Indigo Girls: Get Together (orig. Kingston Trio) 
- Joe Solo: If I Had A Hammer (orig. The Weavers) 
- Glen Phillips: American Tune (orig. Paul Simon) 
The Avett Brothers take on George Harrison’s Give Me Love
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