“Somewhere” is Here and Now
You could say that I am putting this up for the nonviolent demonstrators of Tunisia, Egypt and now Algeria. I’ve always admired this song, which is a song of hope for better times when all things are possible. Unfortunately, “Somewhere” could also be misconstrued as a song about eternity, of leaving it up to the Divine or to other generations, when such things can be achieved with simple will. Freedom, like love, is opportunistic. As Martin Luther King essentially told the white ministers as he sat in the Birmingham jail, how long must we wait?
Besides this rendition shows Aretha looking really lovely even with all that weight. It’s about 15 years old, I think, so we see her in good form.
I’ve liked how both Aretha and Streisand have sung this particular song from West Side Story, so I am adding them both. If I ever get to put together a soundtrack for a film, I’d put Aretha’s version at the beginning of the film, and Streisand’s at the end. Barbra Streisand has voiced an admiration for Aretha’s range. Not sure, though, whether Aretha has spoken well about Streisand. They’re both divas. For me, Aretha’s live version here at the Kennedy Center Honors–with more embellishments that I can count–cannot compare with the one she rendered on the album, Hey Now Hey, The Other Side of The Sky. Produced by Quincy Jones, in the early Seventies, it was an experiment many thought had failed–to be like her more subtle but soulful and bankable rivals Roberta Flack and Dusty Springfield, known as “The White Queen of Soul” at Atlantic.
I didn’t think it failed when it came out. I still love this album.
And it makes me wonder…why aren’t Americans out on the streets with everything that is happening now? People are underwater with their mortgages. Jobs are still far from plentiful, and older workers are particularly discriminated against. President Obama wants to cut subsidies for heating fuel for the needy and elderly; at this writing, the president is considering cuts to Pell Grants. Social Security is threatened by both Republicans and Democrats. The banksters are running amok.
Moreover, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who I call the Boy Blunder, flanked by a double contingent of the National Guard, has all but threatened over 175,000 members of labor unions with maiming and much worse if they don’t cooperate with his plan to oust collective bargaining for state workers, because he believes that the state is broke. It’s a Republican meme and an excuse, “we’re broke,” that’s been repeated in several other states. Backing him up are the right-to-work crowd and the politico-business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, which calls itself “Wisconsin’s business voice.” The horror of what this man is suggesting has sent shockwaves throughout this state which has a near-golden history of organized labor.
Walker has effectively created a schism between unionized service workers like firemen and police and state troopers, and those union members who are not. Paul Secunda, interviewed by the Associated Press today, thinks that it is political payback for some unions who supported Walker’s opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Check out who else is supporting this and other Walker proposals.
If anyone in those labor unions voted this fool into the state house, they’ve just been given a rude wake-up call. The same for the rest of Wisconsinites. These individuals and groups are not for regular people, and never have been. But perhaps people need to get a taste of what it was like before there were labor unions or even programs for the elderly or the needy. The business model created child labor. The business model created NAFTA.
Amazing how patient Americans can be. Or cowed.
So, if you are wondering about when good times will roll around again, don’t wait. Make somewhere happen right now for yourselves, effectively and nonviolently. Even if it doesn’t happen in 20 days, keep working until it does.