Woody Guthrie from Wikicommons
Woody Guthrie from Wikicommons

After watching the inauguration and knowing the challenges that we all face, not just back in home in the United States but here in Britain and all around the world, I still retain my optimism, although some accuse us Americans of allowing that to slip into naïveté. My optimism is tempered by an awareness of the severity of this economic crisis, but I’ve always been realistic and pragmatic. To me, it’s part of the values from my family and from where I grew up, the Midwest in the US.

It’s at times like this I think back to Woody Guthrie and his songs of hope during the dark days of the Great Depression. The next few years aren’t going to be easy, but together, yes, we can. Woody once said:

I have hoped as many hopes and dreamed so many dreams, seen them swept aside by weather, and blown away by men, washed away in my own mistakes, that — I use to wonder if it wouldn’t be better just to haul off and quit hoping. Just protect my own inner brain, my own mind and heart, by drawing it up into a hard knot, and not having any more hopes or dreams at all. Pull in my feelings, and call back all of my sentiments — and not let any earthly event move me in either direction, either cause me to hate, to fear, to love, to care, to take sides, to argue the matter at all — and, yet … there are certain good times, and pleasures that I never can forget, no matter how much I want to, because the pleasures, and the displeasures, the good times and the bad, are really all there is to me.

And these pleasures that you cannot ever forget are the yeast that always starts working in your mind again, and it gets in your thoughts again, and in your eyes again, and then, all at once, no matter what has happened to you, you are building a brand new world again, based and built on the mistakes, the wreck, the hard luck and trouble of the old one.

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