Posts Tagged ‘Curtis Mayfield’

“From a Distance”– Currently at the West End Gallery


The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Yesterday, for the first time in many moons, I felt a sensation that seemed distinctly out of place for the feelings that have been swirling around inside me lately. It was a twinge, a pang, a fleeting pulse of optimism.

I think it was the announcement of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden‘s running mate that did it. I had been expecting– and hoping– that she would be the pick. The daughter of immigrants, she’s smart, tough, and forward looking but also warm and engaging. What’s not to like?

But even expecting it, I was surprised at my own reaction to the announcement. It made me happy in a way that I haven’t felt in some time.


It took a while to recognize this long lost feeling, this optimism. It’s been gone so it seems almost foreign and I have found myself more apt to use words like pessimism and cynicism to describe my feelings about the future.

But the truth be told, I kind of like it.

I like the idea that there are responsible adults stepping up to face the multitude of problems facing us at this time. As daunting as the situation, this little bit of newfound optimism makes me think we can find solutions going into the future.

It’s like the torch on the Statue of Liberty has been dark for the past four years– it sure feels that way and there’s talk that it might be set ablaze again. Eyes look up again.

Like I said, I like this feeling but it still makes me a bit nervous. I fear that others who feel the same thing will think that this optimism somehow replaces the need for hard work and attention to detail in the coming months.

Pay attention. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s, people. Make sure you’re registered and vote even if it means standing in line for hour upon hour.

This is the most critical election of our lives. That is not hyperbole.

We are still down in a dark pit but at least our eyes are looking up a bit now. And there is light up there.

Like the great Curtis Mayfield song they used after introducing Biden and Kamala’s partnership, let’s Move On Up.

Have a good day and keep your eyes up.

PS: The quote at the top is from Dietrich Bonhoefer, who wrote an essay that I used in a blog post, On Stupidity, which is easily my most visited post.


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Diamond in the BackSometimes songs get stuck in my head for a long time and I find myself humming or singing them without thinking for many weeks.  Sometimes it can be irritating when the song is one that begins to grate on  my nerves but stays on because of a catchy melody or verse.  But lately, there have been two songs that keep popping up quite unexpectedly, both early 70’s soul classics with positive messages that I find myself glad in having them stick around.

The first is Be Thankful for What You Got from William DeVaughn, who I guess would fall into the category of one-hit wonder.   While it may seem to celebrate the gangsta lifestyle of Cadillacs and street-cruising, it’s message is that you don’t need material possessions to hold your head high if you can simply be thankful for what you got.  A very simple message but one that holds true and strengthens through the infectious beat and chorus plus its Curtis Mayfield-like vocal stylings.  This is an extended version with some great cool vibraphone work and a video of striking imagery.

The second is Ooh Child from the Five Stairsteps, a family band from Chicago that preceded the Jackson Five and was for a while the first family of soul.  This song was a huge hit and has been covered by a number  of artists.  Another simple message that really resonates.

Have a great Sunday and be thankful for what you got…

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