Playing—and Working—for Change
It is the end of Independence week. I was prepared to lament American values on the fritz and move on. Times, they are a’changin’ – just not in the direction Bob Dylan had hoped. My mood was first lightened by an employee at New Seasons. He was wearing a spangly button-down shirt and a tee emblazoned with the face of George Washington speckled with lip print kisses and the words Proudly Politically Correct. I must have made some dour remark about our current state of affairs, but Alex’s response was young and upbeat. Things always change. Those of us who have been on this planet for many decades can attest to that. But the implication in his tone was that they can change again. With that bit of peace in my heart, I went looking for one more reason to feel good to be an American today. I found it in the music of Playing for Change, a movement created to connect the world through music. The piece I found was just what the doctor ordered: an inspiring rendition of Skin Deep confined to the United States and all who we are.
My father, who was born in 1903, watched his father go off to the Russian front in World War I. He strove to be a successful businessman in Germany when inflation went rampant and Jews were increasingly scapegoated for economic woes. He embraced his new country and proudly became an American citizen. He was scrupulously ethical and kind. At the dinner table, we discussed and debated politics: the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the oil crisis, Watergate. I wish he were here now to give me some guidance and perspective. One thing he would surely say: The pendulum swings. But democracy is a fragile thing. Let us hope that it continues to be strong and resilient, and that people of honor will find their voice and their power.
Please treat yourself to this version of Skin Deep. I can't seem to get this to link, but paste this into a new tab and watch the video at https://www.vimeo.com/250931000 I promise it's worth the effort. We must celebrate what we can.