1. Wooden nickels - eels, 'daisies of the galaxy' 2. I will follow you into the dark - death cab for cutie, 'plans' 3. To live's to fly - townes van zandt, 'be here to love me' 4. Echo park - joseph arthur,'our shadows will remain' 5. Harriet's got a song - ben kweller, 'sha sha' 6. Greenville - lucinda williams, 'car wheels on a gravel road' 7. You'll never leave Harlan alive - darrell scott, 'aloha from nashville' 8. Halo 'round the moon, steve earle, 'transcendental blues' 9. John Wilkes Booth, tony rice, 'native american' 10. Pull, richard buckner, 'devotion and doubt' 11. You can't take love for granted - graham parker - 'the real macaw' 12. Willy, joni mitchell, 'ladies of the canyon'
William Rivers Pitt pulls no punches - he wears no mask of fantasy. He is obviously saddened - and I think most of us are saddened by the American experience since the turn of the Century.
"Since January 2001, we have lost faith in the idea that our votes matter, we have lost two towers in New York, we have lost an entire city in Louisiana, we have lost two thousand one hundred and twenty nine soldiers to Iraq, somewhere along the way we lost a whole pile of weapons of mass destruction those soldiers died trying to find, we have lost a substantial portion of our children's future by spending hundreds of billions of dollars so those soldiers could die far from home, we have lost our standing with the international community, and a good portion of the planet looks long and hard at us, wondering if we have also lost our minds."
Losing faith is just about as sad as it gets. We lose hope when we feel powerless. There can be no upward movement unless there is first a downward one. We've been on the moral and spiritual downward path for quite some time now. We are the shining beacon of the crushed and uninspired. How do we "redeem the spiritual and moral lag?" (using Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words). How will we reestablish a spirit-broken democracy?
In his Nobel Lecture in 1964, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said this about poverty:
"..it is obvious that if man is to redeem his spiritual and moral "lag", he must go all out to bridge the social and economic gulf between the "haves" and the "have nots" of the world. Poverty is one of the most urgent items on the agenda of modern life. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.
He said this about war:
I venture to suggest to all of you and all who hear and may eventually read these words, that the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence become immediately a subject for study and for serious experimentation in every field of human conflict, by no means excluding the relations between nations. It is, after all, nation-states which make war, which have produced the weapons which threaten the survival of mankind, and which are both genocidal and suicidal in character....We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say "We must not wage war." It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace.
He looked at our place in the world, and the hope he held for the world, in this way:
This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response which is little more than emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.
As you read Dr. King's words, think of ways that we can, as we stand today, redeem our 21st Century spiritual and moral "lag."