Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Hero: Pete Seeger

Before I delve into another set of thoughts on listening (and it's coming, don't worry) I wanted to touch upon another of my heroes while he's fresh in my mind. The other night while making dinner (roasted eggplant with cilantro green sauce, seared tilapia, stuffed clams) I stumbled across an American Masters program about Pete Seeger. The food was a little saltier than I'd intended, seasoned with tears of joy for his life, sorrow that his work is still so relevant and remembrance for everything his music has meant to me.

I am so moved by this man's bravery and integrity. Not that his actions are news to me, but I am reminded of it anew. Talk about walking in hope - for peace, justice, environmental health and welfare and more. Pete has sung out for civil rights, human rights, labor, kids - he has helped shape the current progressive agenda. And he's done all of this while being a decent human being. He is relentlessly hopeful that we can be our better selves, living in kindness, compassion and with respect for all living things. That takes immense courage and inner resourcefulness - it's easy to get hopeless and forget that we have the capacity to change, grow and be kind. Pete reminds us that we can.

He invoked the First Amendment when called in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. How's that for courage! He's named in the Supreme Court case that helped to establish precedent for conscientious objectors. Anyone who says arts and artists don't make a difference should look at this man.

Plus the man sings and encourages us to sing! I bet, regardless of whatever kind of music you like, you know some of his songs. How about this, "To every thing, turn, turn turn..." I bet you hear a melody. Or, "Where have all the flowers gone..." or... well, you know what I mean.

Heroes come in many different shapes and sizes. Pete Seeger reminds me that hope is a verb - it move us to action and feeds us. He reminds me that voices lifted together in song are stronger than those shouting in discord. He reminds me that human beings, regardless of race, color or creed have the potential for such love, such joy and such music. Thanks, Pete.

ps - the photo is from, a lovely appreciation site.

(c) 2008 Laura Packer
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1 comment:

  1. My ex-husband is a singer/songwriter in NY who also has a recording studio, and he's been fortunate enough to work with Pete Seeger. Pete is amazing!


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