Inaguration Part 1

The first “WTF” moment came, for me, with the sight of Pete Seeger. Seeing the 89-year-old folk singer in front of a crowd isn’t all that new a thing – that’s been his job and career – and seeing him do it at the Lincoln Memorial wasn’t surprising. I would argue that seeing him sing under the gaze of law enforcement snipers and plain-clothes cops wasn’t new, either. But the fact that the guns weren’t pointed at him – and that the then-President-Elect was a few dozen meters away and smiling and clapping along – surely was.

This song was probably the best way to dance on the grave – and tramp the dirt down – on the Bushco doctrine. After everything, and all that’s been done, the ideas Seeger espouses are as unconquerable as sunrise. (video is at the bottom of Al's post)

To be honest, I once didn’t have much use for him. In my teenage years, when I was starting to get into music, I mistook volume for subversiveness, all folk music was suspect. It wasn’t that much different for most of my friends at the time. As well, I did a lot of my music listening in farm tractor cabs – and you just can’t hear a folk singer that well if you’re sitting six feet away from a diesel motor at full throttle.

And when I started knowing a lot more about music – including folk heroes such as Woody Guthrie – it seemed to me that Seeger was merely trying to make a living off the reflected, fading glory of Guthrie. Freaking out about Bob Dylan going on stage with an electric guitar and performing with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival also didn’t endear himself to me – he seemed more like a conservative old fuddy-duddy.

It’s only later, when I read his life story and saw the pain and crap The Powers That Be gave him over his life, that I got a look at the real Pete Seeger. And after all this, he’s still a patriot to his country – partly because he’s not only read his country’s constitution but also he took it to heart.
As for Bruce? Well, one should compare this version of this song with the version he sung with the E Street Band for his first live album. That one sounded tentative, as if Bruce wasn’t sure that his audience grasped what the song really meant: the audience at the Washington Mall respond to Bruce, Seeger, and Seeger’s grandson as if they’ve been just released from jail after a revolution.

There’s a website that’s starting a petition to have Seeger receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Well, they should give it to him. They’ve given it to worse people …