Fighting for justice in our lifetimes

I took a course on the History of the Civil Rights Movement when I was at the University of Virginia. Taught by Julian Bond, a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the course’s readings alone were enough to make any thoughtful American think long and hard about social justice, as was the opportunity to research local reactions to the movement (see my paper on Virginia’s Massive Resistance movement). One of the thoughts I had at the time was about what I would have done if I were alive in the movement years.

Now, of course, I know: I would have been performing somewhere rather than protesting. Because that’s how the quest for justice played out today: my colleagues and pastors from Old South were at the State House rallying for equal marriage while I was rehearsing the Gurrelieder at Tanglewood.

—Someone with less of an axe to grind than mine, by the way, should look at the signs on both sides of the street from today’s protest and learn what can be learned from them about the protesters. The thing that struck me—and again, I’m biased—is the preponderance of identical “Let the People Vote” signs, professionally made (by, who don’t merit a link but who also apparently trucked in cases of water), on the anti-equal-marriage side, and how the few off-message signs that appear on that side of the street are incoherent and threatening, while just about every sign on the pro-equal-marriage side is handmade and many of them are funny or thoughtful. I especially like this rebuttal to the specious “let the people vote” argument.

Fortunately there are others out there who are more proactive than me, including the Tin Man, who has decided to take advantage of his current between-positions status to try to make a new career in gay-rights law.

For more context on the constitutional convention today—and the protesters—check out Bay Windows’ liveblog. To take a look at what the other side is saying, see’s “Arguments for Marriage” page, which is a fine collection of strawmen.

Après moi, le déluge

It’s not a promising start when you’re standing in the second row of singers and you can barely hear James Levine’s comments over the pounding rain.

To back up: I’m at Tanglewood this week, and we’re up to our eyeballs in water as we prepare for the Gurrelieder performance on Friday. So far it’s playing out weatherwise like a replay of last year, though I feel much more part of the group this time around. (It helps that I already know the music too.)

Hopefully it will dry off soon. Then I can relax and enjoy myself a little.