The Widdershins

Remain Calm, Etc: The Devolution Has a Soundtrack

Posted on: October 17, 2013

Good Thursday, Widdershins.  Hopefully, by the time that this post goes up tomorrow, there will be some resolution to the current  fiscal crisis du jour, but I am nonetheless impelled to give homage to the spectacle of the House Repubs belting out their version of “Amazing Grace” in the hallowed halls of Congress on Tuesday.  Doubtless, they were either mourning the demise of their latest plan, or they had just seen most recent poll numbers.

“Amazing Grace” is a beautiful folk hymn, deeply rooted in the South, It is sung in every church , in every denomination.   It was written by the Englishman John Newton, who was a slave trader until he experienced a religious awakening. He then wrote the hymn as an atonement for his previous activities.  How sad, yet somehow fitting, that it was co-opted was a group who should be remorseful for their contemptuous treatment of their less fortunate brethren.  Even more fitting was that the hymn was proudly led by a Rep whose real job is that of funeral director,as many associate “Amazing Grace” with burials.

I have been treated to the hymn sung by gospel choirs, both lily-white and African-American.  I have heard it sung by choirs accompanied by pipe organs, as well as in little churches backed by piano, guitar, or even a capella in a tiny Primitive Baptist church.  I have heard Judy Collins sing it in a grand auditorium, and have head a lone piper play the strained melody at a graveside,   If my instructions are followed, I too shall be “piped down” to “Amazing Grace” as my forbearers have always been.


The song is sweet, with simple repetition and a melody that almost anyone can do well.  It isn’t that the Repubs sounded all that awful.,.  I guess that the problem was cognitive rather than harmonic dissonance.


Oh, you got the “wretch” part right, but it will take something really amazing to get y’all out of this one gracefully.  Methinks that the good ship Graceful had sailed.


Yep, you lost the last election, and found that to be immensely irritating.  We get it.  Now, can you pull yourselves together and try really hard not to allow the country to collapse?


Hmmm…….blinded by ambition?  Blinded by the light?  Blind-sided by reality?  You do see that, don’t you?

I really, sincerely hope that this post is seriously outdated by the “great deal” being closed to the satisfaction of all concerned, but I think that we would need more than a sprinkle of pixie dust to pull that one off in the long run. What I expect is another can-kicker of a deal rather than any cogent plan.  At least the proposed funding limits of mid-January might get us through the holiday period unscathed,  Then, we can ring out the old, and ring in the same ol’-same ol’.  In the meantime, enjoy “Amazing Grace” as it should be sung.

Consider this an open thread.  Hopefully we’ll have lots of other things – and much more interesting things – to discuss.


21 Responses to "Remain Calm, Etc: The Devolution Has a Soundtrack"

And to add to the irony or symbolic meaning of the repubs singing Amazing Grace, a little info about Rep. Southerland:

Southerland, who comes from the funeral home business, sings hymns at burial sites,

How perfect! 😆

Also, it seems something (going w/out pay?) stress maybe (?) caused one the House stenographers to lose it last night.

She was heard shouting “the House is divided,” according to one congressional source. After about 30 seconds, Reidy was pulled off the rostrum by two people from the House chamber security staff.

“He will not be mocked,” the woman said, according to an audio recording of the incident posted online by Public Radio International reporter Todd Zwillich. “This is not one nation under God. It never was.”

“The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under god! It never was. Had it been, it would not have been! The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons!” she added.

@2: Oh, dear.

Chat, your post truly defines how understanding is deepened by context. Of course this bunch probably thinks “Amazing Grace” was written in the 1950s from whence all their historical context comes.

@chat: Fox and Friends (naturally) thinks the woman steno is being religiously persecuted. Good grief!

Hey! Somebody in the crowd at the WW II Memorial got it right when Palin spoke:

Where I come from, hearing religious command voices is not considered to be a particularly good sign.

chat@7: Well considering that troika that’s on F&F now, they might indeed consider it to have been an epiphany.

I suppose that the margin can be very fine.

Haha! That Palin vid was good.

Those creeps really sang that song in Congress? I can’t stand republicans. They are so unbelievably hypocritical. I was talking to my mom today and she was railing about how stupid their supporters are. Not the rich ones, the poor ones. Misguided pride and phony patriotism, voting away the things they and their families need, like SNAP, WIC, Headstart, etc. You just want to shake these people and say for godsake wake the f*&K up.

Anyway, very nice post, Chat. I can play Amazing Grace on guitar & piano. Also, there is a good movie called Amazing Grace about the British slave trade & Newton.

Fox news: the only place on earth where you can make hundreds of millions of dollars by being a total fool.

@ Mary Luke, yes, but also the radio station where Lush Rumball works.

btw, I like the title of todays post.

@13: Thank you. It just seems that we are devolving at a scary pace.

@12: Fox, like the Bush admin. has mastered the art of repetition=truth.

Was looking at a huffpo post about Rachel Maddow’s show about the shutdown:

and I liked the point made in this comment:

“They fight over 3 billion in food stamps to people with kids while wasting 24 billion on a terrorist tactic that didn’t work.”

Michelle Bachman says this is a sad day. She is sad the shutdown ended. Wasting billions of dollars, doing untold harm to the economy, causing citizens massive stress, but they bitch about a small amount for food stamps so kids don’t starve in America.

annie said: (yep I’m changing from socal to annie) Those creeps really sang that song in Congress?

Yep and the guy who led them worked in a funeral home in his real job and he sang songs graveside. Prophetic, yes?

That Maddow graphic is worthy of being put here:

Oh forgot to mention that McConnell got a nice chunk of change, 3 billion, for a dam project in Ky. I can’t kvetch too much about that though because Lord knows we get our share of them as levee projects in La for flood control.

“Prophetic, yes?” Yes, and scary.

@18, so, pork in the budget? Business as usual.

To anyone who’s interested in the British slave trade and Newton, I highly recommend a book called “Bury the Chains” by Adam Hochschild.

Thanks, Sue. I’ll see if I can find it.

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