The name A Still Small Voice 4U is derived from the Bob Franke song A Still Small Voice. We are often led to believe that it is the important people, the rich and powerful, the politicians, the celebrities that define our world but it is the small voice that over time and through persistence creates real change. These voices usually go unnoticed, but do not underestimate their importance.
My favorite example of this is Pete Seeger and the modern folk music movement. In the 1950’s Pete was a member of the Weavers who had big hit records with songs like Goodnight Irene and Tzena, Tzena, Tzena. These were essentially pop songs and although not from the tin pan alley tradition they were hardly subversive. Then along comes J Edgar and little Joe McCarthy who decided that anyone who might be a communism/socialist sympathizer was dangerous or evil or controlled by foreign governments. This despite the fact that millions of Americans had joined communist or socialist organizations when capitalism failed in the Great Depression.
So as part of the campaign to make America safe for rich capitalist they dragged Pete and many others before the House Un-American Activities Committee, perhaps the most un-American organization of its time. Pete refused to take the Fifth instead giving the Committee a lesson in the Constitution (which they obviously had never read) by explaining that he was exercising his First Amendment right to free speech. Well free speech is not free and they tried to put Pete in jail. Most importantly they blacklisted him, banning him and the Weavers from radio, TV and major concert venues.
So Pete, needing to scrape together a living, took to the road traveling the country playing wherever he could find a place – summer camps, school auditoriums, college campuses, union halls and people’s homes – spreading the music and message that would become the modern folk movement. Popularizing songs like This Land is Your Land, Woody’s anthem that many people today think of as a patriotic ditty. In reality was and is a rallying cry against the rich and powerful (check out the verse about private property) and for the common person – this land is yours and mine. Subversive for sure. So thanks in part to J Edgar and little Joe we got protest music and songs that were integral to the civil rights, anti-war, feminist and environmental movements.
So turn off those talking heads on TV, ignore the hate radio and don’t expect politicians to do anything of use. Real change will come from the small voices in church basements, living rooms, coffee houses and other places where people get together and talk or sing, discuss books and help each other.
Be one of those small voices.
One Small Voice
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