1.20.2009

The Power and the Glory

It has been an inspiring day to be an American. The fact that power changes hands peacefully is astonishing in a world where there is so much violence and some elections are contested at length. As someone who grew up in the 60s and 70s, it's world changing to see an African American as President of the United States. And given the struggles of our long national nightmare just ended it is good to hear care for the environment, concern for those who struggle for daily bread around the world, and shared sacrifice for the common good back on the national agenda.

This song by Phil Ochs has long summed up patriotism for me -- a realistic love of this country's ideals and the hope that those ideals are lived out for everyone, not just the privileged and the lucky. "The Power and the Glory" shows us united in a common purpose and circumstance: "Her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom / Her glory shall rest on us all"



Come and take a walk with me thru this green and growing land
Walk thru the meadows and the mountains and the sand
Walk thru the valleys and the rivers and the plains
Walk thru the sun and walk thru the rain

Here is a land full of power and glory
Beauty that words cannot recall
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
Her glory shall rest on us all

From Colorado, Kansas, and the Carolinas too
Virginia and Alaska, from the old to the new
Texas and Ohio and the California shore
Tell me, who could ask for more?

Yet she's only as rich as the poorest of her poor
Only as free as the padlocked prison door
Only as strong as our love for this land
Only as tall as we stand

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