Let America Be America Again

Today is the anniversary of Langston Hughes’ birthday.  For those not familiar with his poetic genius and life of activism, I would suggest this short article from Biography.  It contains a wonderful recording discussing his work and art.

One of his greatest poems is Let America Be America Again.  With all that’s going on in the news from corporate control and bribery of Congress, transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top 1% while engaging in seeming endless war, and a White House that could very well be engaged in criminal or treasonous activities, we just need a reminder of where that all ends up. This poem comes from Langston Hughes during the depression with its clarion call for America to once more be the government for the people it is supposed to serve.  The time has come for another very loud cloud to the people.  Wake up to what is going on.  Now is the time to take the country back to its better angels.

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? 
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!



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What’s Going On

I fear for the nation.  As a result I turn to music which often speaks to what is wrong or echos the past as a warning to the present.

And unfortunately where does having a President like Donald Trump lead unless we get rid of him and those who think giving up rights for safety and wealth is a good idea  …

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Happy Birthday Neil

It may not be his best known song, but it is the one that means the world to me and Neil Diamond wrote it. Happy birthday and thank you for the memory.

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Handling Stuff

Life is a bit complicated right now. Will post good music for awhile and get back to writing later.

The original Guys and Dolls starring Robert Alda (father of Alan) as Sky Masterson singing a beautiful song left out of the movie because, let’s face it, Marlon Brando couldn’t sing. This is followed by the wonderful Stubby Kaye as Nicely Nicely singing Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat

Should you decide to take up the ponies, so great tips from the tinhorns.

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The Reason Why

The Greatest Showman soundtrack just hit number one on the Billboard chart. In a soundtrack including several great songs including This is Me that just won the Golden Globe, the song below: From Now On is the best. It is a true anthem about the things that are always to be valued above anything else.

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