Arlo: Balm for the liberal soul

He reminds audiences that his dad was right: This land is, indeed our land.

click to enlarge Arlo Guthrie - Shelka04 at the English language Wikipedia
Shelka04 at the English language Wikipedia
Arlo Guthrie

It's taken me way too long to write about a moment I had with Arlo. It was incredible. In the midst of cabinet appointments and waking up to Twitter every day thinking, a la Dorothy Parker, "and what fresh hell is this?", Arlo sang to me about the city of New Orleans. He sang me songs of protest, of love and America. He reminded me America was filled with good people, with loving people and — hey, look — some of them were standing beside me.

So, OK, it's pretty clear that I don't rank a private concert with Arlo Guthrie, but for a while there, it sure felt like he was singing right into my politics-heavy soul, singing to remind me that the world is only as good as though who speak and sing in love. And that's about the time I remembered the roughly 849 other people surrounding me, and as I looked around, I realized they probably thought he was singing to them, too.

Look, if you're a liberal, I don't have to tell you — the first weeks following the election felt like a shit show. We needed Arlo Guthrie. And he delivered, as only he can. No, he didn't sing "Alice's Restaurant" — the Thanksgiving anthem of high college freshmen everywhere — but he did his other classics (well, not all of them, because he didn't have all night, but quite a few), and he spoke about music uniting people. Even, he said, people hiding from gunfire or behind a wall. Uh-huh.

By the end of this show — in perhaps the best venue in the area for such a show, the Palladium — Guthrie had taken me from speaking directly to my heart to remind me that we are, indeed all part of one human family (even if certain people are akin to your crazy Uncle Bob). He implored the willing crowd to sing along as he closed with his father's words, set to his own music.

My peace my peace is all I’ve got that I can give to you

My peace is all I ever had that’s all I ever knew

I give my peace to green and black and red and white and blue

My peace my peace is all I’ve got that I can give to you

My peace, my peace is all I’ve got and all I've ever known

My peace is worth a thousand times more than anything I own

I pass my peace around and about ‘cross hands of every hue;

I guess my peace is justa ‘bout all I’ve got to give to you.


Thanks, Mr. Guthrie.