Monday, November 1, 2010


Don't despair.

No matter what the outcome tomorrow, those we love and who love us will still be there, in our hearts and we in theirs.

What we know cannot be lost as long as we pass it on to those who can comprehend it, an imperative too easily surrendered.

In the direst of times, times of repression and oppression, of depressions and recessions, of war and sacrifice and even surrender, art is still made, poetry written and read and performed, movies made, musicals danced and sung, creativity of all kinds flourish even if underground. Sometimes the greatest creativity takes place during what seems like the worst of times.

The permanent rightwing media establishment—with propaganda fueled by the permanent rightwing unthink centers, funded by billionaires and greedy corporations for whom enough is never ever nowhere near enough—will go on.

But so will we, sharing our love and creativity. Some will get it, many won't. It's okay.

My paternal grandfather came to this country from Ireland as a teenager from a thatch-roofed cottage with a dirt floor and lots of siblings sleeping on kitchen benches and the floor of the small loft over the fireplace. He became our town's first policeman and voted Democratic all his life because he understood where his and his large family's interests were best protected.

My father dropped out of the Catholic school his father and other Irish immigrants built in our town, in seventh grade, to go to work to help support his family. He ended up creating several small businesses, each one lost during what he always called "Republican recessions" (during Republican administrations, like the last one) but another always started up under a Democratic recovery (like the one we're in now, sluggish or not).

He became the chairman of the local Democratic Party and brilliantly out maneuvered the wealthy Republicans that had ruled our town for decades and decades before he came along. He was part of a generation that understood what party best served the interests of working families, of immigrants and their children, of those of us either not wealthy at all, or rich but smart enough to know what JFK's dad did when he said he was willing to give up half of what he had in order to keep the other half.

The greedy of our time who underwrite and promote the rightwing agenda don't care about anything but money, as they have made, and are making, clear. So, if Republicans take control of the House, financial reform will stall or be reversed, healthcare for those who can't afford it will stall or be reversed, Social Security and Medicare and other federal programs that help many of us without wealth will be gutted or eliminated or drained dry.

And they will find a way, through the media they control or easily manipulate, to blame all that on liberals and progressives and Democrats and Ivy League elites and East Coast/West Coast elites and whoever they can other than themselves, and many will buy it for reasons from lack of education to unfocused resentment to the ways their brains are wired.

But we will still be able to love and be loved, to create and appreciate the creativity of others, and to carry the message of community and common welfare and acceptance and understanding and tolerance and all the beautiful traits and practices the right now mocks us and those who would represent us for.

One gift the Irish I grew up around gave me for which I am eternally grateful was humor, a capacity to laugh in the face of tragedy and disaster, and to get to work to overcome it or help others to. Not to laugh at the results of tragic disasters—like those brought about by the incompetence of the last rightwing Republican administration and control of all branches of government—but at the folly of those who would try to crush the spirit of people who have been through disaster before and know they can survive it, and to laugh in joy at the gift of life and love that can never be defeated by greed and the love of power exemplified by the right.

Happy New Year!

[PS: After I wrote the above, my friend the poet Bob Berner sent me a link to an article celebrating what would be Dizzy Gillespie's 93rd birthday (and pointing out he ran for president back in the day on a platform of getting out of Viet Nam and renaming The White House: The Blues House) with a link to the video below which perfectly illustrates my point above since this is from 1959, four years before Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, during the repressive years of the (relatively moderate in comparison to today's Republicans) Eisenhower presidency when things were looking pretty bleak for liberals and progressives and Democrats and non-whites etc.(and he had already gotten us involved in Viet Nam), yet here are several artists, two in particular, showing us how to be joyfully alive despite the odds, performing a song my uncle Lydie (Michael Lydon Lally was his given name) would always be requested to sing at clan gatherings, so it has a double resonance for me on this Celtic New Years Day]

[PPS: Be sure to watch it all the way through to get the full effect]:


JIm said...

Happy New Year back at you. As for the blather, well even I can understand it in the face of a tsunami. said...

Wow, happy New Year Michael, and thanks for the terrific video. (Jackie Gleason at the end is the bonus!)


Eve said...

A glorious day to you!
Good seeing you and will look forward to Nov. 11 for the skype hookup. Need help with it? XO Eve

Lally said...

Theresa, Yes, I thought so too, and he (Gleason) looks unlike his usual cocky poor-Irish-boy self in the face of those two musical/comic talents (which Gleason was too as we know). In fact he looks a little like he feels he's intruding, on his own show!

Anonymous said...

Well, with that lineage in your family, I can see now, why deciding to run for county sheriff in Iowa City in 1968 was an easy decision for you :)


Connie said...

Good Samhain to you too. And to quote Van the Man:
And if I don't see you in that Indian summer
Then I want to see you further on up the road.

Maryann said...

Happy new year and thanks for reminding me of my roots, not just the celtic ones but the union workers, organizers, NYPD & NYFD folks...the unrelenting hope, the belief.

Anonymous said...

one should take that gal who said that she "dabbled" in witchcraft" thew one running for office tomorrow
take the media's misunderstanding and most folks' misunderstanding of Wiccan to a decent level..

truels said...

a dizzy good day to you, celtic pops!

-K- said...

I don't consider this "blather" at all -

"But we will still be able to love and be loved, to create and appreciate the creativity of others, and to carry the message of community and common welfare and acceptance and understanding and tolerance and all the beautiful traits and practices the right now mocks us and those who would represent us for."

I think it's something to aspire to.

TC said...


Your positive note is sweet to hear, wish it rang true(r)...

I'd agree "it" will still be here.

Not quite so sure that "we" will, though.

But obviously one ought to speak for oneself.

"Personally," I'm scared to death.

But then, I was already... stranded in this hell of maniacs and morons.

AlamedaTom said...

Just watching the Repubs taking over the House. Alas, not even Satch & Diz could pull me out of that woe. But remember, the President has veto power so these turkeys will not be repealing anything. They can stall and impede, but they would have done that anyway.

~ Willy

Lally said...

I hear you Tom. But at least the werstling mogul and one-time witch were defeated in Conn. and Del. I'm going to sleep with the Pennsylvania, Illinois, Nevada, Colorado and California races still not called. Maybe I'll wake to some better news.

Bronxgodzilla said...

Michael Lally -- sounds familiar.....
Where you on the scene poetry/jazz in lower east side early-mid 60s? Later 60s west side ?

Barry Ira Geller wants to know :-)

Lally said...

I don't know of any other, brother.

Anonymous said...

wonderful post, Michael. Thanks for the perspective.


TC said...


Are we having fun yet?

Lally said...

I don't know about anybody else TC, but I am. I'm passionate about politics (had to rewrite that last word seven times before my fingers finally did what my brain was trying to get them to do), but do my best to accept political (or any other kind of) reality and do my best to see it clearly. And if I don't like what I see, work to change it—with no expectations. Like Lao Tzu said, more or less: Do the work and then leave it to heaven.

Rain said...

Yes, This was a much needed post-election antidote and positive inspiration - to witness this exuberance and joy, not to mention brilliant music, in times of repression past. Thanks a bunch for the reminder.

Lally said...

Your welcome Rain.