No more turning away

As I was driving home from work last night, listening to my usual playlist, I was struck by the continuing relevance of Pink Floyd’s 1987 Power Ballad On the Turning Away (and “relevance” & “Pink Floyd” don’t usually pop into my head at the same time). The song itself is a call to stop turning a blind eye to the suffering around us, but I think this may have become my new mantra somewhere along the line without me realizing it – no more turning away. There is simply too much at stake for the future. And so I think I’ve extended the meaning in my own head a bit to include those marginalized groups that are in jeopardy now that religious zealotry (of all types) and nationalism  seem to be holding sway in the US and in much of the rest of the world. We all need to have our rights protected and I don’t want to see the clock turned back for anyone.

Of course, from a practical matter, I’m not sure what that really means – I still have a job that I can’t afford to leave yet, and a family, and there’s still a month left of school for me. I just know that I can not continue to sit idly by. Short term, I guess it means more writing to call out the wrongs – especially the lies and the implicit censorship (like Steve Bannon telling the media to ‘keep its mouth shut’ – no, really, they should not), and trying to do a bit more volunteering. I’ve long understood that the TEA Party succeeded because they were very good at grass roots mobilizing and pursuing a foothold in local government and school boards. Progressives need to learn from that, and use that playbook of there is any hope of reversing our oligarchical condition. The marches and movements now are destined to fizzle out, like the Occupy Wall Street movement did, if they do not find a way to get their base involved in more than marches and protests. Speaking of which, I’m drawn already to the planned March for Science since I’m very concerned that our anti-intellectual and anti-science representatives in Congress and in the Trump administration are going to do irreparable harm to the environment in the next four years. After school finished up, and I (presumably) have more time, I’d like to find more concrete ways to get involved.

I’ll figure it out as I go along, but in the meantime, here’s the song (the lyrics are below) – sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest places…

 

On the Turning Away

On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won’t understand

“Don’t accept that what’s happening
Is just a case of others’ suffering
Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
The turning away”

It’s a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it’s shroud
Over all we have known

Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we’re all alone
In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord

Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside

Just a world that we all must share
It’s not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there’ll be
No more turning away?

— Pink Floyd
written by David Gilmore & Anthony Moore

Storm clouds over the Hudson, October 2016.

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2 thoughts on “No more turning away”

  1. Good one, Carol, especially now in the light of many posts crying out for everyone
    To shut up and get on with life. No more turning away.

    Liked by 1 person

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