This week the ever more verbal Ian started belting out the old Woody Guthrie song, “This Land is Your Land.” Befuddled, I wondered where he picked this one up? “Baby Shark” or even “thank u, next” I expect, but a 1944 anthem?
Then it dawned on me, ‘Poppa Roy’ (i.e. my dad) often puts Ian to sleep when he visits. When I was a tot, my Dad blasted Bruce Springsteen, and as a teen he schelped my brother and me to Wilco and Billy Brag (both remade this folk classic). He most certainly sang this to Ian, sure enough, and the kid, well, he’s a patriot already, though maybe not the kind at present liked by some in our society.
The song, however forgotten, seems to ring true this week, not just in our weekly ploys to sneak on to the adjacent neighborhood’s private beach and trails (“As I went walking I saw a sign there / And on the sign it said ‘No Trespassing.’/ But on the other side it didn’t say nothing, /That side was made for you and me”). And not as a remote gesture of encouragement to the migrant caravan (“As they stood there hungry,/ I stood there asking / Is this land made for you and me?”), for no toddler, however spirited, could now out sing the pile of military now lining up on the border.
But rather the song seemed a beam of hope in this dark week where we lose an hour of evening light, the leaves are stripped utterly from the trees, and the temperatures slide into the 20’s. And also a very large beam of hope for this coming midterm election — where everywhere it seems people are committed to making the land truly one made for the ‘yous’ and ‘mes’ via voting.
Last election only slightly more than half our nation showed up at the polls. And now my head spins looking at “Five Thirty Eight” when trying to monitor the narrow margins while making sure Duncan doesn’t fall over as he resolves to learn to sit. But no matter how confusing the house vs. the senate, vs. which woman (in the year of the woman) should beat which woman for the senate, vs. who Kanye happens to be supporting this week — I sincerely hope —
we all “go walking that freedom highway” to the polls tomorrow.