Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pete Seeger's Message Resonates More than Ever


This past Saturday, I had the amazing opportunity to see Pete Seeger perform live at the Brattleboro's Latchis Theater. Seeger was joined on stage by his grandson Tao Rodriquez-Seeger and Guy Davis. At the age of 89, Seeger doesn't perform as often as he used to. His age is evident in his raspier voice, but his commitment to justice and his joyful spirit is stronger than ever. Watching the dynamic between Seeger, his 30-something year old grandson, and Guy Davis was uplifting and heartwarming. Their respect for one another and their shared belief in the power of music to guide social change sprinkled a little hope on this troubled world.

The performance, a benefit for Strolling of the Heifers (a Vermont non-profit that offers micro-loans to small family farms), included many of Seeger's familiar tunes that have accompanied peace activisits for generations. The lyrics resonated more than ever.

Take these lyrics for instance...

To everything,
turn, turn, turn.

There is a season,

turn, turn, turn.


Notice any political, social, or economic seasons changing lately?

Despite what Washington and Wall Street would like the American public to believe, it looks like the season of constant growth for the American economy, particularly the corporate sector of the economy, is coming to an end. The past year has been marked by a downward spiral of corporate America's control over the global economy. Yesterday's events on "Wall Street" punctuated the economic disaster facing the financial industry when another two of largest investment firms, Lehman Brothers and Merrill-Lynch, were forced to admit their own desperate financial situation, Lehman declaring bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch being bought out by Bank of America. Maybe there is a reason this is all happening. Maybe the seasons are changing on Wall Street. Maybe it is time to re-think an economic system that benefits only a very small percentage of the population and leaves the rest struggling to pay their bills.

I am currently reading Bill McKibben's book Deep Economy in which he speaks to the danger and consequences of unrestricted economic growth. He asserts that the economy can not keep growing in this manner without dangerous political, social, and environmental consequences. So, if we as a human species are to survive, this season of greed and growth has to end.

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

Thanks for putting things in perspective, Pete. Plus, it was fun to sing along.

To read Robb's perspective of the concert, go to his blog.






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