Thursday, November 9, 2017


And so today marks the one-year anniversary of the second of two major threats to our country’s health and security in the 21st century. The first, of course, was 9/11/ 2001, when Islamic terrorists attacked. The second was 11/9/ 2016, when we willfully elected someone determined to bring down democracy as we know it in America.

I’ve already gone through the list of threats to our citizens from the people in power— like their attempt to jeopardize the health and well-being of at least 24 million Americans by making health-care unaffordable. The attempt to take away crucial environmental protections and give free reign to those who profit from making our air and water worse. The withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement (now that Syria has joined, the only country in the world not a member), the continued denial of climate change while refusing to help Puerto Ricans devastated by the hurricanes that didn’t get the memo that climate change isn’t real. The capitulation to the NRA to keep marketing their assault weapons so that more people have been murdered in mindless mass shootings than in the attack on the World Trade Center. 378 shootings between January and November in 2017. 378. Who needs Islamic terrorists?

So on this sad, sad day, I’m here in Forth Worth, Texas (a state where a recent mass shooting took place) for the annual Orff National Conference. This will be my 35th and is as much a ritual marking in my year as anything else I do. A time to gather with a thousand plus colleagues from around the country and make music for three mostly fun-filled days. Started off last night with a game of pool in the bar with a great group of next-generation teachers that let the old guy hang out with them.

So I’ll mark the day with people committed to sustaining life through music. And again hope that this time next year, we’ll celebrate the beginning of the restoration of democracy when the emperor with no clothes is shipped off to some nudist camp. 

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