Monday, July 13, 2009

Pete Seeger and the Carriers of Hope

The following journal entry is from February 1990:

Reflections on seeing Pet Seeger on “Donahue” show: Now the circles come back full: all those wonderful signs of hope we nurtured against all hope in previous decades are springing to life before us. It will become media fashion to have the old 60s radicals and singers on t.v. now.

But I feel rage at how so much hope and vitality are always shut out, suppressed by the power structures that govern society. It’s as if the teeming mass of all the non-persons, those who are often the carriers of our hope for a better world, are kept in the wings to watch the same old weary actors trudge the same old weary circles on the stage.

And now and again one or the other foil-characters is called in from the wings to chatter a bright line and disappear. The choreography is carefully controlled: never let too many come on stage at once, and never let anyone say too much. Make them seem as excrescences, as voices out of nowhere who suddenly appear and say their nonsense and as suddenly vanish.

I feel very hopeless in the face of this choreography. It seems if the Others are ever to have leading parts, so much hidden and vicious control must be flushed out, named, disempowered. And how can this occur, in a world in which they, those in whose hands all power appears to lie, increasingly control the symbols that define the consciousness of us all?

The graphic for this posting is a quilt awarded to Pete Seeger in 1983 by the Boise Peace Quilt Project.