First off I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to read my musings here over the past year. I also want to send a big thank you to our host, lovechilde, for giving me this forum and for his kind words earlier today.
For me, you can't have Thanksgiving without Alice's Restaurant. I was driving to the store for some last minute items with my kids earlier today and the song came on the radio. We ended up sitting in the parking lot for ten minutes so we could finish listening to the song.
I could not help thinking that the final section is as relevant today as it was when Arlo first wrote it (except, happily, for the end of discrimination against gay and lesbian service members):
And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in say "Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice's restaurant." And walk out.You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement. And that's what it is, the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the guitar.Of course, that could never work, just like a bunch of people taking over public spaces all over the country, and indeed the world, could not change anything. Except it has. In Tunisa, Egypt, Syria, and other countries it is changing governments. In the United States it has at least changed the national conversation, and I personally think it was part of what prevented the Democrats from their usual ignominious surrender in the Super Committee. The last line of those songs have not yet been written, but I am thankful to all those who have given their time, effort, and money and risked arrest and the totally out of control and brutal response of police to bring needed change to this country and countries around the world.
So this Thanksgiving start a movement. Do something, give your time to a local food bank, shelter, or other organization helping those in need, if you can, give money to help the occupy movement or to feed those in need, or call or write those who represent you and let them know that this country needs to change and that change needs to start with the richest among us paying their share and with laws and law enforcers who will punish those who brought down our economy with their fraud and greed. Talk to your friends and neighbors and get them involved. And while you are at it, don't forget to be thankful for what you have and to tell those you love that you are thankful for them.