Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Soldier In The War On Poverty

I read with sadness this morning that musician Billy Preston, known as the Fifth Beatle, died Tuesday of kidney failure after a long illness due to hypertension. I am sure he that penned the only song lyrics about the war on poverty, in Nothing From Nothing Leaves Nothing: “Don’t you remember I told ya, I’m a soldier, in the war on poverty ..."

I am a fat 50 year old white chick who grew up in the inner-city neighborhood, and grew up believing in a future where everyone, black and white, would come together in brotherhood, and no one would look at me strangely when the spirit moved me to get down to funky tunes. For me, no one exemplified this attitude of unity better than the positive, loving, talented Brother Preston. So a couple hours later when my cd shuffle came up with “Outaspace,” probably his best known song, I was up out of my chair, and gettin’ down in my living room. My kids had to put up with this kind of behavior daily when they were growing up; oh well, they needed something to talk to their therapists about. I’m only sorry I stopped in my 40s and let all this excess weight creep up on me.

It hurts to live in a world full of stereotype and racial division, and this was brought home with full force as I relived the joy of dancing alone, tears streaming. And it reminded me that I need to put together my article on LBJ’s War on Poverty forty-some years later, as a follow-up to my article on low wage workers.

I’ve also included a link to the Official Billy Preston Website at right.


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