August 7th, 2013
Song is a scary thing you know. I don’t know what it is, but there is something powerful there. I think of freedom songs that were used to carry codes and free people. I remember the union songs that told the stories of struggle of working people who won and those who died. There are the folk songs that tell the stories of mountains and forests, people and lives, war and the path to peace. There’s that demon rock and roll. And, of course, we cannot forget how song provided the framework for the civil rights movement or how it has continued to grow and tell the stories of our lives in so many ways, reggae, rap, the blues, and the list goes on.
People ask why we are singing in Wisconsin. Why haven’t we gotten a permit to sing our songs? The answer, in my mind, is simple. People have had the right to gather, without a permit, in the capitol rotunda to petition their government in Wisconsin since the capitol was built. The current administration trying to limit that right and that’s not ok. Rights are easier lost than won. We cannot insult the legacy of all those before us who have fought and too often died for the right to petition their government by becoming silent.
People say we should be doing public service instead of singing. Well, amongst our singers we have nurses, teachers, pastors, people who work in nonprofits, volunteer for food pantries, people leading efforts to build homes for the homeless, tutors and mentors for area youth, volunteers for area museums and community centers, and the list just goes on. We work every day to care for the world we live in for today and for the long term.
We aren’t there for political parties. We are there for deeper ideals; freedom of speech, a fair and just society in which the government works for the people not the corporation, a government that stands up for what is right and just, a democracy for, of, and by the people.
I think that if we really had the choice a lot of us would rather take that hour to go grab some lunch. We don’t have that choice anymore. We love Wisconsin too much to give it away to the highest bidder.
Come, sing a song. Don’t worry if you’ve been told you can’t sing well. Look back at that list of all the others who sang before us in the fields and the factories and everywhere else in between. They didn’t all sing in tune. If you can’t sing well, sing loud.
For our friends around the world who wish to support by helping out the more than 100 people who have been cited for singing you can make a contribution here http://solidaritysingalong.org/