Thursday, September 01, 2011

September 2011 a time to celebrate the creators over the destructors

The arts can bring us together and, sometimes drive us apart.

After 9/11, the arts were a strong healing force in America. Ten years after, I still remember that beautiful "America" A Tribute to Heroes" telethon that featured performances Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Wycleaf Jean, The Dixie Chicks, Celine Dion and so many others. Music was this Sept. 21 show's centerpiece. Unlike most televised music events -- MTV Awards, Grammies, etc. -- the egos were left at the door and they just played.

On that night, when you and your Republican neighbors were watching the same show and thinking some of the same thoughts, who would have thought that we would be such a miserable and contentious and downtrodden nation as we are now? Who would have thought we would still be waging war in Afghanistan and one in Iraq? Who would have predicted how mean-spirited our politics would become? It disgusts me and I hope it disgusts you.

Me -- I'm part of the problem. I regularly attack the other side for what I see as knuckleheaded politics. They, in turn, attack me. That's O.K. a healthy give-and-take of ideas is a good thing. That makes our country stronger. It shows us that the terrorists really didn't win on that sunny day ten Septembers ago. But when we spend all of our time in name-calling mode, I'm not so sure. When politics becomes another excuse to tear our neighbor down, I'm not so sure. After 9/11, we were talking. Our leaders were operating on the same page. Healing and recovery became our goal.

That didn't last long.

Does that mean that I'm going to leave my Cassandra ways behind and become all Pollyanna?

No. I will keep fighting the Know Nothings. But, during September, I'm going to write about constructive things that may make our lives just a bit better. The arts, just to name one topic. The arts are a constructive force. To create is to see toward the future.

And I leave you now with a healing song from from the 2002 CD by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, "The Rising." Great CD. The title song could have been in that long-ago healing concert. It's a performance of "The Rising" at a 2003 concert in Barcelona. Barcelona residents know a bit about rising from the ashes. It was a city in ruins after the Spanish Civil War which divided Spain for generations (and Spaniards are still dealing with it). Is there another civil war in America's future? Let's hope not. Here's the concert link: Some of the lyrics:
Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

Come on up for the rising
Com on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

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