Thursday, January 30, 2014

He fought the power...

Pete Seeger died this past Monday at the age of 94. I'm still devastated by his going away and likely will be on some levels for the time I have remaining. He became a hero of mine while I was still in high school and he remained one throughout all this time. He never never failed to delight, he never failed to enlighten and he never failed to "fight the power".

I asked my Tuesday class whether they had heard of Pete Seeger...none of them had. And that made me ever sadder.

It may be that some of you are not familiar with him. If so...here is one of the numerous pieces about his death and here's another. He made beautiful and meaningful music and he stood up against power and he stood up for those being treated unjustly. Even if he didn't make it all the way through to becoming a vegan...I have no doubt he would have at some point or other.

I've sort of had my eye out for something written about him that was worthy of him and here's a piece written back in 1990 that does a very good job.
   What does this have to do with animals?  Nothing and everything.  Pete Seeger has fought the power for a long time.  Summoned before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1955, he pleaded not the Fifth but the First Amendment.  He declared that he had the right to discuss (and sing about) politics with whomever he pleased.  In 2003, as the nation prepared to invade Iraq, an 84 year-old man stood by himself on a cold, snowy street corner in Beacon, New York holding a hand-painted sign that simply said: “Peace.”   As Bruce Springsteen observed, Seeger’s life and work has been all about driving a “stealth dagger into the heart of our illusions about ourselves and our country.”
Mr. Springsteen's observance about driving a dagger into the heart of illusion is also a fitting statement about the job of every vegan. It is our task to puncture humankind's illusion of superiority and dominance and freedom to harm without consequence that characterizes how most behave toward our fellow Earthlings. I will forever believe Pete would have understood and sympathized. RIP Mr. Seeger...we are all lessened by your not being here. 

4 comments:

Bea Elliott said...

The death of Pete Seeger is a great loss for anyone who has been inspired to stand alone against the big, oppressive systems and against injustices. I found Seeger through the love of Peter, Paul and Mary - All cut from the same cloth of using music to voice their outrage of war and poverty. I agree too that these soldiers of peace would be vegan given that chance today...

If I Had a Hammer --- Well, we all do! And we might do well to use it often in his honor. May you finally RIP Mr. Seeger. Your vision will not be lost.

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Bea. He was an inspiration and mentor for too many activists and musicians to be enumerated. I was entering young adulthood just as activist music was beginning to soar. PP&M, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez...and on and on and Mr. Seeger led the way.

While he didn't write it (written by Malvina Reynolds...also author of What Have They Done to the Rain) his rendition of "Little Boxes" helped me struggle with and understand non-conformity. It doesn't sound like much but being a kid at a small country school in rural Oklahoma didn't offered little wiggle room for non-conforming in 1962...but the song made light of conforming...and that helped. :-)

He was a gem.

D.E.M. said...

Thanks for this post. It's been a bummer of a week.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM. I'm sorry you're having a bad week. You are greatly appreciated...maybe listening to some banjo music would help...it's hard to feel sad while listening to a banjo. :-)