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Yarrow writes: "People have been wondering what folksinger/activists, some of them septuagenarians like Noel Paul Stookey and me, might be doing in the face of the current cataclysmic challenges to our democracy and our nation. The answer is simple: we are going to keep on keeping on."

Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary. (photo: Peter Yarrow)
Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary. (photo: Peter Yarrow)


Impeachable: A New Kind of Protest Song

By Peter Yarrow, Reader Supported News

26 February 17

 

‘Impeachable’ is a new twist on the kinds of songs that Peter Paul and Mary were singing that helped to mobilize Americans.

eople have been wondering what folksinger/activists, some of them septuagenarians like Noel Paul Stookey and me, might be doing in the face of the current cataclysmic challenges to our democracy and our nation.

The answer is simple: we are going to keep on keeping on. We inherited a legacy from Woody, Pete Seeger and the Weavers and many others who inspired us. They never quit, never stopped and never stopped advocating. Doing so is “in our blood” and it’s a great gift to both Noel and me, as it would be to Mary – were she still to be with us. She would join, even (or maybe especially) at our advanced age, the current advocacies that “hammer out a warning”, “ring out danger” and “sing about the love between our brothers and our sisters”.  No, we’ve not “gone away”. We, and others who also come from the folk music/activist tradition, are solidly committed to using our music to generate community and consensus at our concerts and at gatherings and demonstrations to confront the most dangerous of challenges now threatening our country.

I have written, and currently perform, two songs that have come out of the presidential campaign and its results, one being The Children Are Listening and the other being, Lift Us Up.  I am grateful that, in a limited context (for sure) both of these songs have become rallying points for efforts to assert what is good in ourselves and what is reprehensible and frightening in the face of the recent election. 

By far the most important effort yet, by either Noel Paul or me – in terms of its reach and, in my opinion, its brilliance – is Impeachable, a parody Noel wrote of the song Unforgettable, which was a huge hit by Nat King Cole from the early 1950s.  Impeachable was just released on the internet and went viral with, currently, over 800,000 hits.  (Please share this link with your buddies and help us spread the message.)

Impeachable is an example of Noel’s extraordinary ability to write a super-funny, very surprising yet also, highly nuanced, lyric. He is, and has always been, an amazing songwriter. In its first public performance last weekend Impeachable brought the audience at our concert in Thousand Oaks, CA to its feet with a prolonged standing ovation. There were screeches of delight the likes of which I have never before heard at a Peter Paul and Mary concert.

Noel has clearly struck a hugely resonant chord amongst those who heard the hammer strokes warning of a grave danger to our nation, our democracy and, in fact, the whole earth.

Impeachable is a new twist on the kinds of songs that Peter Paul and Mary were singing that helped to mobilize Americans at the time of the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement.   Blowing In the Wind and If I Had a Hammer written by Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger & Lee Hays, respectively, were anthems that brought folks together in ways that let them recognize, in very personal ways, their collective strength as well as reassert a commonly held ethical/political perspective. Such was also the case with Where Have All the Flowers Gone and a myriad of other songs. With their repetition at rallies, marches and on the radio, these songs inspired many newcomers to the world of activism who asserted to us that our music, and that of our fellow folk musicians, became the “sound track of their political awakening”.  (In our view, this is one of the greatest compliments we ever received.)

Today, of course, the dominant transmission of such advocacies comes through social media, though in-person efforts such as The Women’s March on Washington, and the demonstrations at Standing Rock that electrified the nation are still, I believe, the most powerful tools for social/political mobilization.

Also, there is another new aspect to a musician’s, or an actor’s, or any artist’s efforts in the realm of advocacy. In this time, humor, as offered by the likes of John Oliver, the gifted cast and guests, such as the amazing Alec Baldwin, on Saturday Night Live, Samantha Bee, Melissa McCarthy, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, to name just a few, has played a huge role in inspiring and activating the spirit of our nation. It cuts through the extreme “noise” in tweets, frightening pronouncement and actions emanating from the current administration,

Please take heart my friends. From my travels, I have found that there has been a huge call to action heeded, even (and emphatically) in my and Noel’s elder demographic. Be assured that a large body of former artist-activists is mobilizing now with their songs, their poetry, their heart-rending videos, their humor and their visual work on signs and memes that spread across the internet with ever more amazing directness, humor, and determination.  As long as this continues to build, we’re walking together and gaining strength.  Let’s carry it on, my friends.

In solidarity and love,
Peter

Impeachable
By Noel Paul Stookey

Impeachable, that’s what you are…
Impeachable, and yet so far...
You’ve avoided closer scrutiny
And even though Vlad-i-mer Putin, he
Opens many doors, it only makes you more...

Impeachable, and when, some day
We can say ‘you’re fired’ and you go away
You may have thought you were unreachable (but) history makes some moments teachable:
Someday Pence may be impeachable too

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

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Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+90 # Wise woman 2017-02-26 13:46
Never forget that the power of the music that motivated us in the 60s can do so again. Those 50-yearold lyrics are as potent today as they were then and they certainly ring out a warning. Be very warned when the so-called president denies access to the press to his so-called conferences. Time to bring on the hammer!
 
 
+81 # ER444 2017-02-26 14:15
I was tinkering on the guitar in the 60's and Peter, Paul and Mary were idols of mine. How wonderful to see that "our" generation, the generation that went to the streets protesting the Vietnam War, is still so powerful. By the way, the dangerous narcisst who calls himself President is also of our generation. Let's keep his feet to the fire!! Fire him!!
 
 
+1 # thekidde 2017-02-26 22:54
My 00018 followed me to Vietnam in 1967 where it resided in the O-club hooch on Hill 69 while I was out in the field with my Company, When in base camp, it accompanied me for folk music from PPM to the Kingston Trio, and quite a few Rusty Nails in the O club.
 
 
+9 # angelfish 2017-02-26 18:56
You GO, Paul! Hopefully what you sing about WILL come to Fruition!
 
 
+9 # elkingo 2017-02-26 20:38
What can one say? RIGHT ON!
 
 
+8 # futhark 2017-02-26 21:34
In our political system impeachment must ALWAYS be on the table. A powerful politician can do a heck of a lot of damage before voters have a chance to send him/her packing at the next election, so he/she must be continually accountable to the Congress, the representatives of the People.
 
 
+5 # angelfish 2017-02-27 20:22
Quoting futhark:
In our political system impeachment must ALWAYS be on the table. A powerful politician can do a heck of a lot of damage before voters have a chance to send him/her packing at the next election, so he/she must be continually accountable to the Congress, the representatives of the People.
Sadly futhark, we haven't GOT a responsible Congress! This one is in League with the Dark Side and will do NOTHING to save this Country from these Toxic ME-FIRSTers!
 
 
+7 # Adoregon 2017-02-26 21:41
Brilliant!
Both in tone and content.

What a sly fellow you are, Noel Paul.

My bet says Resident Rump won't last the year.
 
 
+11 # margefromtn 2017-02-26 21:44
This land is our land... and we need to take it back. thank you for still doing what you do.
 
 
+12 # jimallyn 2017-02-26 23:56
“A pamphlet, no matter how good, is never read more than once. But a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over.” - Joe Hill

This is just what we needed!
 
 
+3 # owlafaye 2017-02-27 01:20
If you Google Andrew Jackson & his administration you will see many many similarities between Jackson & Trump.

It is impossible for any man to settle all your demands much less the demands of the many protest groups in America today.

Thousands of laws, taxes, regulations, treaties & policies are in place in order to keep the country running smoothly.

There will be very little gain or change should a president be impeached. It does not affect the status quo.

If you really want change in America you should resurrect the ANTI WAR MOVEMENT. Attacking the pipeline or transgender bathroom problems is fruitless, a waste of good energy. You have to go to the very bottom, the place where all our problems begin...the unrelenting war against the world in a quest for world dominance.

If you can do this you will get Trump's attention, the entire government's attention & the support of the people. Do this & you will change the world & in that change there will come solutions to the other dis-satisfactio ns you suffer.

The huge volume of protest groups in America makes me believe that the "divide and conquer" strategy is in play & that you are all being used.

I am not against what you strive for. I understand it is important to you. But spending your energy on impeaching Trump is just the kind of protest effort that the globalists want.

I call on all Americans to temporarily lay aside your demands & organize behind one national ANTI-WAR-EFFORT .
 
 
+7 # treerapper 2017-02-27 04:00
BRAVO!!!

Regardless our generation, we all need to keep on keeping' on - pushing back against the malevolent gangsters and the orange-headed autocratic Hitler wanna-be.
 
 
+4 # TINK 2017-02-27 05:57
Peter: So glad you are both still in the game! How bout you come up with something for us to march with? We still need you guys to give us the energy to keep on carrying on.
 
 
+6 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-02-27 08:58
Ridicule is an essential tool to use against the Trumpster.
 
 
+7 # John S. Browne 2017-02-27 13:40
###

LOL! Thank you, Noel and Peter, and posthumously, Pete, Woody, et al.! That made my day and my entire year! I've always loved "Unforgettable" and Nat King Cole. I think perhaps even Nat would have gotten a kick out of "Impeachable". Thank you for not winking, but for the sly look instead. You couldn't have made the point better!

###
 
 
+2 # Meghan 2017-03-03 08:24
Great to see you singing in this crazy world.
Love the Impeachable song!!
 

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