by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
November 21, 2002
LOVE IN THE TIME OF BAD POLITICS
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Someone told me that Prozac sales have gone up 25 percent since the elections, and while I'm not surprised, I don't intend to medicate myself with drugs or marinate myself in sorrow as I watch my country prepare for repression at home and destruction abroad. Instead, I'm going to take my cue from the great singer, songwriter and poet Greg Brown, and revel in love and knowledge.
When Brown packed the auditorium at a local high school last weekend, he knew his folk music-loving audience was hurting from the recent elections as much as he was. But instead of condemning or mourning, he chose instead to reaffirm his own - and his audience's - values through his songs.
So he sang about devoting a whole day to cooking a stew, and seducing his lover with its tantalizing tastes and smells. As they wait for the stew cook, they dance around the kitchen and fall into bed.
In Brown's world, "When the kitchen is happy, love has a chance."
Instead of railing against a consumer society, he sang simply, We have no knowledge and so we have stuff/ And stuff with no knowledge is never enough/ To get you there/ It just won't get you there.
He affirmed his belief in an older, wiser knowledge, one that recognizes the value of the earth and the people on it, and treats them both with respect: "I hear the voice of the ancient ones chanting magic words from a different time/ Well, there is no time."
He sang about the things that are really important, like the smell of coffee, the smell of rain, and the smell of your lover's body.
I kiss the pillow where your head has lain, he sang.
And to show us that he will stand by his vision of a more humane and loving world, he sang, "We Will Not Be Moved" and the audience joined him.
I believe we are entering a time of tyranny, a time of great wars and great suffering, loss of freedoms and the destruction of much that is left of our beautiful natural world.
Living in this cruel coming world will be difficult. But in the face of the current far-reaching scorn for a liberal, just, humane and loving way of being, we must drive our fuel-efficient cars, look for better forms of energy, eat our slow-cooked wholesome foods, stand against war and repression in every way that we can, and most of all, love our partners, our families, our friends and the earth we live on more than we have ever done before.
"Hell is the suffering of being unable to love," writes Dostoyevsky.
It's a messed up world, but I love it anyway, sings Brown.
Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.