There are lyrics from many REM songs that cycle through my brain daily (“Can’t buy my harborcoat/Can’t go outside without it” for some reason is always rattling around in there), but the lyrics for “I Believe” are almost always playing (and have been since high school):
“When I was young and full of grace/And spirited…a rattlesnake”
“I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract”
“Trust in your calling, make sure your calling’s true / think of others, the others think of you”
“Perfect is a fault, and fault lines change.”
“I believe my humor’s wearing thin/And I believe the poles are shifting.”
But, the one that I hear most often, and the one I heard loudest and clearest in my head last night was:
And change is what I believe in
I lectured this morning to about 100 freshman business students. I asked who was happy that Obama won, who was sad, and who didn’t care. Even in this red state where I teach and live for half the year, the vast majority were happy.
I try not to preach when I teach, but I had to fight back tears when I said (the teachings of Elie Wiesel, who I was lucky enough to study with for a year, rattling around in my brain):
“I don’t care who you voted for, but America has had a sickness since its inception. Racism has been our curse; it’s what keeps us from being truly great. It’s been a global embarrassment that we haven’t had an African American President, and it’s an embarrassment that we haven’t had a female President. But yesterday, those of you who voted, took a giant step towards curing our national sickness. You should be proud and honored. And, I believe.”
Ethan Kaplan has a great blog called Blackrimglasses, and he posted the following video of R.E.M. announcing Obama’s victory. I couldn’t be more delighted that Bertis Downs, who I’m honored to call a friend, and who I respect more than just about anyone in the music industry (or any industry) was able to say the words.