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Taylor Swift cuts to the chase

OK, OK, I'm a fan. I'm pretty sure I've copped to that before, even in writing. I'm the teensiest bit embarrassed, being a 57-year-old man, but I'll live.

I like her old stuff, when she was a teenager and an absolute beast of a songwriter. I like most of her newer stuff - again because I find her writing exceptional, her overall lyrical sensibility refreshing and genuine, and you can typically enjoy her music while you're doing other things. Her music is like french fries: it goes really well with pretty much everything.

Lately TSwift (my daughter swears that's a thing) has been as much an activist as she has been a musician. I confess I typically don't like when celebrities take up political causes. I watch TV and movies and listen to music to escape, generally, not to double down on all the crazy going on around us.

But I have to admit I like most of what she says, and the fact that she puts her time, effort and money where her mouth is. Walk the walk, that's big with me, especially right now.

Today is the 58th Juneteenth I've seen*, and the very first one I've known about. Thanks, Taylor!

Juneteenth, Freedom Day, is the celebration of the day when slaves in Texas were finally freed, a full 2+ years after Abraham Lincoln thought he had already done that across the land. How did that happen? That is...kind of awful.

Taylor, according to the press, thinks Juneteenth should be a national holiday, and has given everyone who works for her the day off, with pay. Nice!

I agree. It should be a national holiday. It's a reminder of the difference between what we say, and what we do. It's a reminder we should never get so enamored of what we've done that we forget to do more.

According to CNN, Taylor wrote the following on Instagram:  "For my family, everything that has transpired recently gives us an opportunity to reflect, listen, and reprogram any part of our lives that hasn't been loudly and ferociously anti-racist, and to never let privilege lie dormant when it could be used to stand up for what's right."

I don't know about you, but that quote hits me pretty hard. Solid gut punch. Especially this part: "...never let privilege lie dormant when it could be used to stand up for what's right." 

Jesus, Taylor, that's a monster of a soundbite, even for someone who writes catchy lyrics for a living. That says, well, everything. It's a high bar, even though it shouldn't be. We've gotten away with growing more mindless as time went on rather than mindful, more present. 

We all have our stories. I have mine. Mostly I have been, and continue to be, blessed. I feel lucky every day, at least once, for what I have: my family, my friends, my job, my roof. Even my stupid cats. I am not generally a praying man, but I do like the idea of having a moral center, and the commitment to calibrate according to it. I think I have a new quote to help me remember to do that:

Never let privilege lie dormant when it could be used to stand up for what's right.

Damn fine words you got there, T. Keep on keeping on. 


* Seriously, do the math: The first one was before I was one year old, and I'm 57 now, so it's the 58th June 19 I've been alive for!

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