Ritland Daily Ramble #21
Quote of the day
I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin or situation in life.
– Pete Seeger
Love each other
Honestly, I’ve never had an unequivocal love of Pete Seeger. He does represent, to some degree, the sort of one-dimensional political singer that the folk scene desired Dylan to never grow out of. Even on his last album of new material, Pete Seeger at 89, he preached about endangered whales and zero waste resolutions.
But that’s only part of his story.
Seeger sang and collected a diverse selection of American folk music: slow, minor key murder ballads, negro spirituals, funny and upbeat story songs, instrumentals of all sorts on many different instruments, blues, country, and so much more. Though he never strayed from folk music his repertoire had an endlessly entertaining amount of variety.
The contemporary left can learn from Seeger’s willingness to reach out to people regardless of their political, religious, or philosophical beliefs and affiliations. In addition to the inspiring quote above Seeger also said “It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.” Being open to the ideas of others, and reaching out to them, is infinitely more useful than surrounding yourself only with people you agree with and shutting yourself off to the other side.
That Seeger was willing to reach out to those he disagreed with was one of his greatest attributes. Even though his left-leaning views were sometimes radical he had a patient, charitable attitude towards those who disagreed with him. His example will always be inspiring.
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Picture of the day
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik’s music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.