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December 31, 2006

Happy New Year (I Hope)

Not totally sure what to say about 2006. Much of it's been pretty great, and some, particularly in the final few weeks, has been rather painful. In any case, you guys, and this blog, and the opportunities and occupation that have sprung from it, have certainly been appreciated, so three cheers for that.

Personal triumphalism/melancholy aside, 2006 was a very good year for the country, and will be remembered as the year the voters dropped an anchor before the ship of state ran permanently aground. Righting the place, however, will take a lot of work, and a lot of organizing, and a lot of attention, and a lot of energy. There's an intimidating amount to do, but come the start of the 110th Congress, progressives will finally have a foothold from which to do it.

Paul Wellstone used to end his speeches with the refrain, "Keep fighting, keep marching, keep fighting, keep marching, keep fighting, keep marching!" To that I'll add typing, and donating, and persuading, and convincing, and e-mailing, and calling, and arguing, and thinking, and creating, and opposing, and supporting, and demanding. The last few years have seen an unprecedented explosion in ways to become civically involved and effect change. In 2006, some of them paid off. Whatever 2007 will be for us individually -- and I hope it will be great -- let's make sure it's even better for us collectively. And of course, keep fighting, keep marching. Onward to 2007.

December 31, 2006 | Permalink


Much of it's been pretty great, and some, particularly in the final few weeks, has been rather painful.

There is so little that could be said which would not cheapen the pain you speak of, except perhaps that pain is fuel for the fires of our joy and redemption. May 2007 be a year, then, in which your joy overflows and the sorrows of this past year are redeemed into the compassions and triumphs of the next.

Indeed, may this be true for all of us and our fragile, troubled little world.

Posted by: Stephen | Dec 31, 2006 11:50:55 PM

Ezra's post caused this old semi-religious song to pop into my mind:

This little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine,
Every day, every day,
Every day, every day,
Gonna let my little light shine.

So Ezra, and commenters, let's keep that light shining. The next years ahead need lots more light.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jan 1, 2007 2:21:38 AM

Jim's song, and the general theme, reminded me of another song, the Carter Family's "Keep on the Sunny Side." My favorite version is sung by Mother Maybelle Carter on the Will the Circle Be Unbroken album the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band put together about 30 years ago. Getting along in years, she had just the right voice, and no doubt experience for it. And that song leads me to "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," a song of a very different sort given, despite its roots, a touching place in As Good as It Gets. Taken together, those two songs cover a lot of ground in attitudes about life.

There's a dark and a troubled side of life
There's a bright and a sunny side too
Though we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

Keep on the sunny side always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day it will brighten all our way
If we keep on the sunny side of life

Oh the storm and its fury broke today
Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear
The clouds and storm will in time pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear

Let us greet with a song of hope each day
Though the moment be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Savior always
To keep us every one in His care

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

Then there's this one:

Sunrise doesnt last all morning
A cloudburst doesnt last all day
Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away

Sunset doesnt last all evening
A mind can blow those clouds away
After all this, my love is up and must be leaving
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
None of lifes strings can last
So, I must be on my way
And face another day

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
Its not always going to be this grey

This ramble of free association brought to you by 2006. A happy 2007 to you all.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jan 1, 2007 2:59:25 AM

a favorite song of mine, jim!!
a beautiful and blessed new year for all....
yes, let's keep our lights shining brightly!

Posted by: jacqueline | Jan 1, 2007 3:06:30 AM

beautiful songs and thoughts for greeting
the new year....and each day!
thank you.....and happy new year!!!!!!

Posted by: jacqueline | Jan 1, 2007 3:08:19 AM

remember the beautiful ending lines of desiderata....

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt
the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with G-d,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery
and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
.......................max ehrmann

Posted by: jacqueline | Jan 1, 2007 3:41:14 AM

What's her name?

Posted by: Realish | Jan 1, 2007 4:02:44 AM

"What's her name?"

'Twas my question too.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 1, 2007 4:42:10 AM

realish and sanpete....i am not sure if you are referring to desiderata, when you said "what is her name".....but if you were....desiderata means "something desired as essential" in latin.
.....those lines were part of a magnificent, larger poem with unclear origins, but generally believed to be written by a man named max ehrmann, in the last century.
the poem was very popular and rediscovered in the sixties, and seems to have faded once again.
but it is a real keeper poem, and easy enough to find in a search on the web.
....maybe that isnt even the name you were inquiring about...but it is really worth reading the full poem anyway on the first day of the new year!

Posted by: jacqueline | Jan 1, 2007 8:16:52 AM

Ezra, keeping you and yours in my thoughts, and wishing you a happy and prosperous 2007.

Posted by: LauraJMixon | Jan 1, 2007 9:27:07 AM

For a change of mood, here are some lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The song is about a supposedly typical marriage:

It's not talk of God or the decade ahead
That helps us get thru the worst.
It's "You did" and "I didn't" and "Nobody said that"
And "Who brought the subject up first?"

I mention it because it has the makings of an Internet anthem.

Posted by: Kyle | Jan 1, 2007 9:30:38 AM

The lyrics to my favorite Ween song - Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down) - From the wonderful Chocolate & Cheese album.

Why they wanna see my spine mommy?
Why they wanna see my spine?
It's gonna hurt again mommy
Much worse than last time
Am I gonna see God, mommy?
Am I gonna die?
It really hurts mommy!
Am I gonna die?

Smile on Mighty Jesus
Spinal Meningitis got me down

I'm feelin' greasy mommy
Please don't let me die
Stinky vaseline mommy!
Please don't let me die
Am I gonna see God, mommy?
Am I gonna die?
It really hurts mommy!
Am I gonna die?

Smile on mighty Jesus
Spinal Meningitis got me down
Smile on mighty Jesus
Spinal Meningitis got me down

Posted by: Petey | Jan 1, 2007 12:33:52 PM

Tho is Ezra is looking for breakup music, I'd recommend a different Ween song - Piss Up a Rope - from the quite wonderful 12 Golden Country Songs.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 1, 2007 12:37:15 PM

Jacqueline, I think Realish and Petey were speculating on the cause of Ezra's recent woes.

I remember the poem in its recorded version by Les Crane, which was a big pop hit. It's so closely tied to that version, and the new agey side of the '60s, that I think it sounds very different to us now than it did when it was (apparently) written back in the Roaring Twenties, between the Great War and the Great Depression..

Posted by: Sanpete | Jan 1, 2007 2:50:48 PM

This just occurred to me . . .

Ezra, thanks for all the fine blog posts. Whatever you're going thru, fuck it -- you strike this reader as a fine person as well as a smart young policy analyst.

All the best for the new year.

Posted by: Kyle | Jan 1, 2007 5:27:14 PM

Happy New Year, Ezra.

I don't have any poetry or lyrics to shed light on the state of the world in 2007. Olivia Newton-John is singing "If Not For You" on my stereo, but I'm not sure if that's significant.

Posted by: Pen Brynisa | Jan 1, 2007 9:42:17 PM

And Happy New Year to you too.
Rob Scoble has this link to share http://trustedadvisor.com/blog/69/

Because the world is not only stranger than we imagine : but stranger than we can imagine : it's important not to take the conceit of our projections of the future too seriously.
Keep hope alive : else pessimism can rob one of the enthusiasm to try and effect change.

Posted by: opit | Jan 1, 2007 10:20:55 PM

Just to take a totally different tack - you know, these end of year things are completely artificial constructs. You can make a resolution any time, you can stop at any moment and take a look back, and you can decide that tomorrow is not necessarily the first day of the rest of your life, but simply another day in an ongoing thread. I hope whatever it is that has pained you, Ezra, is not just a relationship, because there's plenty of time, you have tremendous talent and skill, and somebody's out there. For all of us.

Best (to everyone) Wesley

Posted by: weboy | Jan 1, 2007 10:48:16 PM

I add my warm wishes for a magnificent 2007. May we all break: barriers and records and ceilings and bad habits; may we all make: friends and magic and peace and, of course, plenty of love.

And I offer this quote from a president whose wisdom and hopefulness seem more relevant now than ever:

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter, 1798


Posted by: litbrit | Jan 2, 2007 8:21:21 AM

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