Sunday, May 31, 2020

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Julia Ward Howe ... and Taylor Swift :)

We went for a walk at our park today, not being sure what we would encounter, as protests are everywhere(and we would join them, if there was no  COVID-19 and my husband hadn't had a stroke 3 years ago) - as Lexington protests have been peaceful, thus far. 

People were unusually kind and respectful towards each other, actually - waving, smiling to everyone they met, black, white, Latino, Asian, Indian - everyone was unusually and deliberately kind :)

Then we came upon an old man fishing in a Vietnam vet hat, with a long scruffy beard like a woodsman Santa Claus ... and tensed a little bit. Though I'm grateful for their service, oftentimes, such old men like to corner you angrily about politics. 

However, as we walked up, he was whistling "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" - the song of the union/Northern army during the civil war.  

Let me just explain to you what an unusual occurrence this is. 

Though they sing/play that song in the military, nobody in the mostly Republican South whistles that song, these days - they whistle Dixie, the song of the Confederacy. 

Thus I smiled and said, "I like your whistling this morning ... pretty" 

He said, "Yeah, I do it all the time, these days" and smiled.  

I said, "Thank you for the reminder,  that's a great song" and he nodded and smiled :) 

Because let us not forget - Vietnam was the first war we had with truly mixed-raced regimens - who had to cover each others' arses in battle, like it or not. 

Thus, Vietnam vets who are NOT brainwashed by the Trump administration remember that and are grateful for what there brothers in arms did for them and vice versa, regardless of color of skin.

And I personally needed a reminder of this song today. 

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on!

Glory, glory, Hallelujah! Glory, glory, Hallelujah!
Glory, glory, Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps
His day is marching on
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free
While God is marching on!

Glory, glory, Hallelujah! Glory, glory, Hallelujah!
Glory, glory, Hallelujah! His truth is marching on!
His truth is marching on! And on and on and on and on and on

Not many know that the Union Army/Battle Hymn of the Republic was written by a socially-progressive Christian (Episcopal) white woman (Go Pisckies!) abolitionist just like me - Julia Ward Howe :) 

And don't forget, Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" also played a role in the changing the hearts of minds of America. 

I am not trying to underestimate the power of force by men or minimize the service of men who gave their lives in battle for causes - I DO revere and appreciate them (my husband was an Army Ranger).

However - never underestimate the power of well-written words by a brave, intelligent, passionate, socially-justice-minded, wealthy Christian white-woman author or lyricist, to interpret and give voice to the plight of the suffering - to change the hearts and minds of America ...

PS - For anyone interested in the back-story behind Julia Ward Howe, here is the story told by her great-great-great grandson, Charles Wiggins Putnam ....

In this excerpt from "The King's Ministry Series:  The Way of the Stars" Written in 1916 (which I'm now reading)  ...

Julia describes in her own words how and why she wrote the song: 

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