Social justice music.

I am listening to The Voice. This week I have purchased two singles, “Redemption Songs,” sung by Anita Antoinette (my favorite performer still on the show) and “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” performed by Damien.

I chose hymns.

How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
“Redemption Songs”

I need hope. It is hard slogging on in the face of the election returns and the past few years of increasing inequality. The temptation to say “screw it, there’s nothing I can do anyway” is almost overwhelming. The wall of outrage fatigue I hit during the Bush era looms again. I know I do not do enough to make the world a better place; sometimes it seems like I just stand on the sidelines and cheer others on. Caring about social justice means squat if you don’t actually do anything about it.

I am getting by, but I see so many who are not. I ask myself, why do I even care? Why does it matter what happens to strangers? Other than just “it does”? I have lost sight of a just and caring God. I have lost sight of God, period.

That’s where the rubber hits the road, ethically speaking. If the only thing that draws you to caring about others is that you were commanded to by an unseen deity who seems capricious in His attentions, what sort of concern is that?

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where, who knows where
But I’m strong,
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
“He Aint’ Heavy, He’s My Brother”

We cannot know where we are going. In the end, all we can know is that we are not on this journey alone. We are called by “the angels of our better nature” to want, to need others beside us. I have to believe that social justice – even rough justice – is possible, even if I cannot fathom how to achieve it.

I have to believe in the promised land, even as I fight despair born of not knowing the road there.

Molly Ivins instructed us to keep fighting the good fight. I have to find a way to do that. The music helps.

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