Morning in America it may not be, nor am I in some shining city on a hill. It's just another day at the crest of the hill that is Park Slope, Brooklyn. But buried in my coffeeshop's calm are remnants of a joy-filled night that has bled into early moments of hopeful anticipation, which is remarkably different from instinctive anxiety. Last night, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra--the band bassist Haden first assembled in 1968 and has reconvened during each Republican administration--had just ended Carla Bley's "Blue Anthem" during a late set at Manhattan's Blue Note when Allen Broadbent (subbing for Bley) jumped up from the piano bench.
"Obama has won!"
Someone had whispered the news in Broadbent's ear, along with the Democratic electoral-vote total at 11:20 - 297.
"Are you sure?" Haden asked, clutching his bass.
"Man!" Haden sighed with force. He stood silent a few moments. "I guess it's time to play 'Amazing Grace.'"
And they did.
I wonder what all this will mean for my infant son, Sam, who I'd promised would have to endure a cynical, ill-meaning government for only the first few months of life. Or what it will mean for my friends in New Orleans, who might dare to think that public servants who long ago turned away might just look back with concern and compassion and the political will to act. Or even in Cuba where, for most of the Bush presidency, the musicians I know have been banned from the stages and concert halls in my or any other American city.
Not unrelated is this piece of mine in today's Wall Street Journal, about one of the many types of cultural experiences and human connections denied us during the Bush years.
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