America

It’s the Fourth of July and I can’t, I just can’t. My neighbor across the street, who two elections ago had a big orange “DEFEAT OBAMA” sign in his shrubbery, and during the last election interestingly displayed no sign at all, has a honking big American flag hanging in his porch entry, as sort of a flyscreen I guess. I ought to tell him it doesn’t work that way.

My country is taking kids away from their parents and giving them back, if they’re given back, broken, and I can’t do a lot more about it than write kiddygarten postcards to voters begging people to vote for anyone who will act to stop this insanity. I don’t even like kids, but you don’t do this. You don’t.

There’s a link there at the word “broken.” Read as much as you can stand. Goddammit.

Nonetheless, I’m an American — not a Brit, though I almost did that once (and they have their own problems), not a Canadian or anything else. When I was born Eisenhower, aka the Last Honest Republican, was President. My father played in the Army Band, Pershing’s Own, and I learned first hand how full of shit the rah-rah-red-white-and-blue could be, but still, here I am. I have to find something that I can still love.

I reverted to Arthur Foote. A Unitarian kapellmeister, who studied in Europe and channeled Dvorak, Brahms and Mendelssohn, he is the only American composer I can entirely embrace. Fuck your folksy Aaron Copland first grade orchestral settings and your Charles Ives cacophony. Here is a beating heart.

Unitarianism is an interesting faith, if it is one. I don’t really understand it much. I think it basically follows the rubric “be a good person.” We could use that.

Here is the Foote piece that I always come back to. Tell me if the world isn’t redeemed at about 1:24 when the B section kicks in, or if not there when the melody comes back dancing on the roof of Creation at 7:35. An American did that. So we’re not all damned to the outer dark.

Sorry, but those are the thoughts I think these days.

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15 thoughts on “America

    • A huge amount of his work was choral, written for the church where he worked, and I’ve come across very little of it, but his chamber music is sublime. There are few recordings, mostly by the Arden Trio, but all worth listening to. I was able to find sheet music of this piece for free online and print it out, and it is apparent to me as I pick my way through the piano part that he must have had enormous hands and felt a bit smug about showing off with them.

  1. Yes, too many people wanting the world to be like a fourth of July back when Ike was president and the world was a lot simpler.
    Spot of re Foote vs. Copeland & Ives. Can’t get enough of Air and Gavotte.

  2. I don’t think the country is going to get much better until we do something to bring the right wing media under control. I don’t know how to do that, though, other than bring back the Fairness Doctrine — and that won’t solve everything.

    Good post. Depressing, but it needed to be said.

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