Pilgrim Pathways: Notes for a Diaspora People

Incarnational Discipleship

“Your Daughters and Your Sons”

This New Years’ Day many who struggle for justice and peace and the health of the planet are frustrated and discouraged.  The eight years of the Bush administration seemed to many to be one long assault on every moral value they held dear.  It was assumed that things would change with the election and inauguration of Barack Obama–and much has. But expecting bold change and getting baby steps and half-measures is frustrating, especially in light of the full-throated attack by the Right which has painted mild reforms as a radical Communist takeover (or Fascist–they can’t seem to decide or tell the difference)! And Obama has not only compromised and waffled, but in some cases actually betrayed the values he campaigned for:  Escalating the war and occupation of Afghanistan against all reason; continuing the gulag at Guantanemo Bay, Cuba; continuing the Bush civil liberties violations of warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detentions without trial (or rigged military tribunals) and threats of continued detention even if not found guilty; announcing a previously undiscovered presidential “right” to target U.S. citizens for assassination(!–even if not yet acted on this is horrible!) and more.  For this we elected a professor of Constitutional law?  The capture of the House of Representatives by Tea Party Republicans puts even the mild reforms we achieved in danger–plus threatends all-out assaults on Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage laws, immigrants, racial and sexual minorities, religious minorities, women, the poor, labor, and the environment.  And around the world there are other set-backs that are equally discouraging or even more so.  So, the New Year has not seemed to many to be a time for celebration. Many of my Facebook friends have posted videos or lyrics of U-2’s bleak song, “New Year’s Day.”

I understand. I share these frustrations, worries, and discouragements. But the inability of peace and justice folk (in this country, at least) to celebrate small victories and live out of hope and gratitude is a real impediment to success: It leads to both burnout and to repelling possible allies and recruits because of our reputation as always grim and somber.  It’s not so around the world: The oppressed sing in prisons and on picket lines and dance before the armed might of their oppressors.  That is also the biblical heritage.  We must be people of hope and gratitude and celebration to have strength for the long haul–for being faithful “in season and out of season.” 

To that end, I post the lyrics of  Tommy Sands’ 1985 struggle song, “Your Daughters and Your Sons.” 

Your Daughters And Your Sons

A song by Tommy Sands©1985 Tommy Sands

They wouldn’t hear your music
And they pulled your paintings down
They wouldn’t hear your writing
And they banned you from the town
But they couldn’t stop you dreaming
And a victory you have won
For you sowed the seeds of freedom
In your daughters and your sons

In your daughters and your sons
Your daughters and your sons
You sowed the seeds of freedom
In your daughters and your sons

Your weary smile it proudly hides
The chainmarks on your hands
As you bravely strive to realise
The rights of everyman
And though your body’s bent and low
A victory you have won
For you sowed the seeds of justice
In your daughters and your sons


I don’t know your religion
But one day I heard you pray
For a world where everyone can work
And children they can play
And though you never got your share
Of the victories you have won
You sowed the seeds of equality
In your daughters and your sons


They taunted you in Belfast
And they tortured you in Spain
And in that Warsaw ghetto
Where they tied you up in chains
In Vietnam and in Chile
Where they came with tanks and guns
It’s there you sowed the seeds of peace
In your daughters and your sons


And now your music’s playing
And the writing’s on the wall
And all the dreams you painted
Can be seen by one and all
Now you’ve got them thinking
And the future’s just begun
For you sowed the seeds of freedom
In your daughters and your sons

Chorus twice.

Happy New Year everyone.

January 1, 2011 - Posted by | human rights, Just Peacemaking, justice, oppression, peace

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