Singer/songwriter James Taylor returned home to do five free “Change We Need” concerts here in North Carolina this week, and last night I went to the one on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill. Thousands of people gathered to hear JT, one of North Carolina’s favorite sons, and to join him in support of Barack Obama. James Taylor doesn’t live in NC anymore but he grew up in Chapel Hill and as he told us last night, he still considers himself a Tar Heel. He said that it's so wonderful for North Carolina to finally be a battleground state and that the fact that we are on the cusp of turning it blue is “truly miraculous.” I'm grateful to him for coming home to help "get out the vote." The message of the night was “vote early” so that the lines won’t be too long on Election Day (since long lines might impact people who have to get to work and don’t have time to wait in line).
JT opened with a lovely version of "America the Beautiful" and then sang many of his best and most famous songs (Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, You Got a Friend). He led the crowd in this cool Obama chant with a funky gospel vibe,which was lots of fun. He doesn't look quite the same as he did on the album cover above (which my parents bought in the late 60's and I actually still have) but his voice is just as sweet and beautiful as ever.
He saved the best for last: "Carolina in My Mind," the greatest song ever written about North Carolina, and just a perfect heartfelt song about that bittersweet yearning you can have for a place you love. I've alway loved that song and it's even the title of one of my blog categories!
So the whole evening was wonderful and inspiring, and I left feeling a lot of hope.
…this morning, I learned that yesterday, someone shot a bear cub and dumped its body on the campus of Western Carolina University in the mountains of North Carolina. Its body was covered with Obama stickers.
What sick #%^#$! I can’t even express how angry and sad this makes me. I literally feel sick on my stomach when I think about it – it’s the same way I felt when I watched that Palin video showing the wolves being shot from airplanes. Heartsick.
“Change We Need” – is it possible to change the minds and hearts of people who do things like this?
Last week, there was some violence at a Palin rally here in North Carolina. A journalist was assaulted by a McCain/Palin supporter, who kicked the journalist and knocked him down. Then this past Sunday after Obama’s rally in Fayetteville NC, thirty Obama supporters returned to their cars and found ALL their tires slashed.
And now there's the bear cub.
Seems that NC is a battleground state in more ways than one.
I'm sorry, but I blame McCain/Palin and the Republican party for part of this. They are doing everything they can to appeal to the deepest fears of these sick and ignorant people. They are actively trying to rile them up and it’s just wrong. They should have to buy all those people new tires, in my opinion. But then there’s the bigger picture – what is wrong with the hearts and minds of people who engage in such senseless violence? Is there anything we can do about it?
The Daily Kos suggested making a donation to the Obama campaign in memory of the bear cub. It’s is a nice idea but it isn’t going to make me feel better about this crap.
Two more weeks. I hope that we will be celebrating but do we need to be looking over our shoulders in fear while we do?
Here's a photo of the crowd before the JT concert: