I’ve been pretty much only thinking about one thing lately and I am not enjoying that this is all I can think about, in fact it is disturbing me at a deep psychological level. Talk about transcendental blues. And I am trying not to personalize it and say there’s just this one man I’ve been thinking about pretty much all the time because in the end it’s not him. It’s not him. It’s the people who believe him. This is the freaky place we’re alone in, you and I, though not entirely alone. We are alone together, wondering who these freaky people are, are they our neighbors, are they our friends, our family?; what world are they looking at that they see what they see, believe what they believe?; how far have we come from where we thought we were heading all this time? We are alone together, you and I and all of us who understand that we are humans together, that being darker or lighter or thinner or fatter or from one place or another place doesn’t add up to trouble and stupidity but to strength in our amazing diversity. What ails these people, how afraid and wounded and uninformed have we let our fellow citizens become? And how certain they now are in their unseeing, in their not-knowing, who accuse the tolerant of intolerance, the wise of ignorance, the compassionate of depravity?
And yet. Think of the good that exists, think of the positive energy we have here on the side of humanity and respect, on the side of love and understanding. Sometimes I think that the terrifying energy we’ve seen unleashed by the amoral swindler currently doing business as the Republican candidate for president of the United States is somehow required by the universe as a kind of balancing out, yin-yang-ishly, for all the amazing progress we have made, interpersonally, in so many gratifying ways, over the last few decades. The trick is not to lose sight of the light, even as the dark persists, and wants to yell at us and call us names and beat us up and keep us down.
Here is a playlist for listening to alone but together, a group of songs that for mysterious reasons are stronger together. Just like us.
“The Magnificent Seven” – The Clash (Sandinista, 1981)
“Longer” – Lydia Loveless (Real, 2016)
“Autumn Sweater” – Yo La Tengo (I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, 1997)
“Les Filles C’est Fait Pour Faire L’amour” – Charlotte Leslie (single, 1967)
“Mr. Understanding” – Pete and the Pirates (Little Death, 2008)
“You’ve Been in Love Too Long” – Bonnie Raitt (Takin’ My Time, 1973)
“Bodies” – Farao (Till It’s All Forgotten, 2015)
“Since I Held You” – The Cars (Candy-O, 1979)
“T.H.E. Cat” – Al Hirt (The Horn Meets the Hornet, 1966)
“John Paul’s Deliveries” – Nathan (Key Principles, 2007)
“Christine” – Siouxsie and the Banshees (Kaleidoscope, 1980)
“To a Forest” – They Might Be Giants (Phone Power, 2016)
“Leavin’ This Town” – Terri Binion (Leavin’ This Town, 1997)
“To Be Someone” – The Jam (All Mod Cons, 1978)
“I Got a Feeling” – Barbara Randolph (single, 1967)
“The Opera House” – The Olivia Tremor Control (Dusk at Cubist Castle, 1996)
“Transcendental Blues” – Steve Earle (Transcendental Blues, 2000)
“Kimberly” – Patti Smith (Horses, 1975)
“Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind” – Rhiannon Giddens (Tomorrow Is My Turn, 2015)
“Everybody Knows” – Leonard Cohen (I’m Your Man, 1988)