February 26, 2011: Let Go, Let Lucy (and Alice and Julia and. . . )

Like many  greater-Bostonians, I received countless e-mails these past few days encouraging me to show up at the State House today in solidarity with the workers of Michigan—and, of course, in solidarity with that populist spirit so abundantly manifested all over the world right now.

I’d already made plans to meet up with a group of Somerville Quakers at 2:00 to bowl and eat pizza (?!) so had decided not to go. After all, just how much fun can an aging Quake expect to squeeze into one afternoon, huh? Besides: Gotta save my strength for candlepins and building community, I told myself.

But the voices of Lucy Stone and Alice Stone Blackwell and Julia Ward Howe and their compatriots, those indefatigable abolitionist/suffragette souls I’ve been reading about lately , urged me to “show up.” (Some might view my willingness to listen to those long-gone voices as guilt—certainly bizarre. Trust me, after you’ve read Alice Stone Blackwell’s biography of her mother, Lucy Stone, you’ll totally get it.)

So I did. But had a disquieting experience.

Just as I arrived at the rally, the Second Line Social Aid Pleasure Society Brass Band—from Cambridge—began playing. And not just any song. They played the song I danced to the night Obama was elected.

And for the rest of the time I was there, I couldn’t shake my sadness. How well I remember my euphoria that night (the linked video shows me ever so briefly with a shit-eating grin). Remembering that dancing, joyful me let me truly grasp how disappointed I am, today.

But, hey. Lucy et al had these moments, too, right?

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