Happy Birthday Richie Havens, MLK Jr, and Obama’s 2nd Term

 What a confluence of important people to celebrate today. Allow me to dabble into society and politics just for a little while. It’s a big day.

 Dear Richie,

 I am glad you were born! I can remember when I first fell in love with your music – I was coming home from college one summer, sitting in the back of my parents minivan, driving through rural Arkansas rice fields en route back to Texas. I had just a collection of your top ten hits, and I remember how magical it felt listening to Indian Rope Man and Run Shaker Life for the first time with your gravelly, reverent voice. You transported me back across the decades to Yasgur’s farm, and from there back across the centuries to a more civil, dignified time in our continent’s past.

 You have taught us how to deeply feel the natural world, its rhythms, its rich history and to make music accordingly. You were a totally non-pretentious Woodstock star. And your cover of Just Like a Woman just makes me cry (on the inside), almost as often as the original does. Thank you. I feel passion every time I hear one of your tunes.

 Dear Dr King,

 Is it really your birthday today? I don’t even know what to say to you or about you. There’s just so much.

I totally dig your more radical streak, but I also admire your willingness to comprise with even those who hated you. If only we had listened more often to that. If only we still would. I love the tangible progress you made – you were just one person that changed a whole country for the better – I just wish your more radical views on nonviolence, anti-imperialism and class justice could have propelled our country further forward as well. But the success of your grassroots action-taking still lives on.

Dear Mr President,

 It is quite a hopeful thing that you get four more years to try and make the best of it with this Congress. I didn’t vote for you but I am so happy that you won. (Obama strategists/friends and family members please don’t string me up!). I do wish great things for you, and for the organization of your party in the future. Both of your inaugurations were historic, and epic, and I totally respect the fact that after your speech, as you entered the Capitol, you turned around, stood facing that enormous crowd, and took it all in one last time. You are a man who can appreciate a moment when it is happening. I aspire to practice the same mindfulness.

To all of you, thank you for changing the world.




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