Shoulder to Shoulder

The March of the Women (Shoulder to Shoulder) from Wild Love Music on Vimeo.

This video was produced to remind us of the brave women of the Suffragettes/Suffragists, both in the UK and the USA. It is also dedicated to the women millworkers of Bridport, Dorset, who came out on strike for better pay/conditions in 1912 and marched through the small town singing suffragette songs, including "The March of the Women".

"The March of the Women" (Shoulder to shoulder) was composed by Dame Ethel Smyth in 1910 (words by Cicely Hamilton). Dame Ethel was a leading figure in the women's suffrage movement and dedicated the anthem to the WSPU.

The anthem is sung here by "Werca's Folk", a women's choir based in Northumberland, under the direction of Sandra Kerr, their website is http://www.wercasfolk.com

There will be a recreation of the photograph of the strike in Bridport, West Dorset on 14.2.15, we will be singing this anthem as we march through the streets with our placards!

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A Generation – a musing

I was thinking about generations yesterday as most of the country observed Martin Luther King Jr Day.

My parents’ generation (and mine were on the younger side of it) – The greatest generation – born in the depression, fought and sacrificed in a world war. They buckled down at home, rationing, recycling, women working while men were off to war, building and gathering around a common cause. Were things perfect? Totally not so. There was much discrimination and inequality and when the men came back, women were sent back home or relegated to lower wage jobs.

My generation (and I’m really on the tail end of it on most scales) – The baby boomers, the kids of that generation. We grew up during the “korean conflict” and “vietnam”, neither popularly understood or supported war actions and the cold war which had us hiding under our school desks so we’d know what to do if someone dropped a bomb on us. (PS I am pretty sure the answer to that question is die, perhaps mercifully die.)

But here’s what I was really thinking about. I was pretty young when John Kennedy was assassinated. Such a clear moment even so, with all its somber ceremony and the unexpected killing of his accused murderer. Ruby died long afterward almost an afterthought. The young president, full of hope and vigor was not perfect by any means either but he was inspirational as a leader, even supported the arts. We remember his words today and his promise as a leader taken away too young.

His successor, Lyndon Johnson took on the social missions that Kennedy had set out and accomplished much while simultaneously getting mired in Vietnam. He and his wife underscored the beauty of our nation and pointed out that we needed to preserve and appreciate it.

Then Martin Luther King Jr was killed.

Then Robert Kennedy was killed.

I was older then, old enough that I was taken with the message of both men, too young to do much about it other than being inspired by the ideas. It was a blow to think that someone would remove such leaders from a world that so needed them.

Then Nixon. Seductive in his promise of ending Vietnam. Slimy in almost every other way. There was a summer of his VP being against the wall and leaving. Then it all began to crumble around him. It was scary and yet the process – the hearings, the news reporting, and ultimately his resignation and replacement – was all orderly and reassuring. The constitution holds because people want what’s right and this isn’t.

Like the assassination of Kennedy, everyone hoped we’d never go through anything like that again.

In the years since, government has really faltered. Too much lobby money, too much money behind elections, obviously no need for government experience to rise to a high office. Much political finger pointing, too little discussion or interest in seeing the needs of the nation. Can you imagine anyone saying right now – we should start a new space program. Or invent something that will really clean the air or oceans. We should develop non-polluting transportation and power…

I heard about a guy who wants to run for senate and he’s freaking 95. Come on – surely there’s someone younger available, and frankly I’d like to see some folks younger than me starting to come up. We need new ideas and energy and they need to start getting the experience.

We had a young fellow recently as president and he got shut down by the politicos at every turn. And the current administration would apparently like to erase all traces of its predecessor for no other reason than he was black and young and smart.

Anyway, I was wondering about the impact of losing those three leaders on our generation, with the dollop of September 11, 2001 on top. I think we are in need of new leaders to help us to action but in the meantime we only have us.

The Force

What’s happiness? When a totally nerdy, pop-culture iconic movie character says the exact same thing that every freaking thing you’ve ever read or been told by someone speaking to you about writing and art.

There were more than a few times last night that I felt tears well up and that might have been the biggest. I am guilty of reciting the “there is no try” bit. And I’m able to apply that and last night’s messages to more than art-making.

And ain’t that the whole hero’s journey -and the artist’s, to keep going, to learn from everything – success and failure, and to be true to yourself.

Thanks for the reminder. I needed that.

Then and Now – Gettysburg and Beyond

Looking back,I first posted these words here in 2015 after an incident in Baltimore triggered violence and looting. I reposted them two years later, a month after this president took office and thinking about what it means to be American and what is worth fighting for.

Today is the anniversary of those words being said overlooking the battlefields of Gettysburg. Two minutes that sum up what is worth fighting for and why we must continue to fight for what we believe.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Today, Poetry

Today at lunch
I wrote a poem about war
and thought
this is what it’s come to
after all these years
of killing.
War again.

That’s not the poem
but it’s what I was thinking.

History Redux

It’s hard not to have flashbacks to the days of hearings re Agnew and Nixon in the Watergate days.

For those who weren’t alive then, it was riveting and scary and comforting, the later because it seemed without much doubt that the system would stand to undo the wrongs that were being revealed.

That’s what we need most now – reassurance that this “bull in a china shop” as he was recently described will not undo this experiment in democracy. That the government will stand and not stand for those who would undo it.

Terrorist President

Got up this morning and after awhile thought to look at what Twitterlandia had to offer. [For those who don’t mix with me on Facebook, Twitterlandia is how I re-tweet screenshots of the 45’s tweets. This started when I kept going to verify what I was reading about. Did he really tweet THAT? Yes. And that??? Yes. And Holy Crap THAT??? and so on. Some people don’t do twitter so I capture screen shots and post them to facebook with a minimal bit of tagline after the opening “Twitterlandia:”]

I can’t even say “just when you think it can’t get any more stupid/crazy/ridiculous/preposterous” anymore. Every single time the guy tweets he just makes it more surreal/absurd/beyond understanding.

So today I was thinking about this progression and about yesterday’s attack in London and about 45’s responses and about the very pointed and mocking responses to his tweets and the very real effect of those tweets globally and more locally.

Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States is a terrorist.

One of the things that sets terrorism apart is the erratic, unexpected nature of it, along with the idea that such actions and the resulting fear it causes will disrupt normal society and life, making people willing to do extraordinary things in order to feel safe and normal again.

Who do we have that does this on a regular basis? Yeah that guy.

So consider this a reminder not to get bogged down by it all – do what you can to keep your own life on an even keel – resist in all the ways you can but don’t give up what’s important to you. It’s vital that we continue to resist and insist that our other officials represent us and do what is right. It’s equally vital that we keep on making art and enjoying the world and taking care of each other because that’s what really matters.