We’ll Sing the Songs That Let You Know

Dear Hope Nation,

You matter. I matter. We matter.

That’s how I end of these letters and there’s a reason for that. Like many of you, I’ve been in that place where there is no friendly direction, where I rotated between being invisible or disgusting or embarrassing to the folks around me, where the mere thought of things getting better made me laugh in derision. I’ve felt like I didn’t matter. You may have been there too.

That. Is. Bullshit.

You matter. I matter. We matter. Really.

For today, I just want to share with you a quote from Woody Guthrie, a quote I’ve had pinned up on various office walls over the years.

I HATE A SONG THAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU ARE NOT ANY GOOD

I hate a song that makes you think you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling. I’m out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you.

I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own songs and to sing the kind that knock you down farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think you’ve not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I’d starve to death before I’d sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow.

At Hope and in hope, we are going to sing the songs that let you know

You matter. I matter. We matter.

Keith

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