a short holiday playlist for these times

Befitting this season of longer nights, when my thoughts turn to the more magical, love-based aspects of Christmas and other winter holidays – I think about one of my favorite messages in most seasonal movies and songs: fellowship and goodwill toward all.

So many people are so heartbroken and scared right now – myself included – because we had hoped that rhetoric that demeans so many our fellow humans and historically leads to the worst of human nature was a deal-breaker. Others are in a lot of pain and not feeling listened to and threw in with someone who promised a lot of things that sounded damn good. Both sides reject the top-down establishment but both are being pitted against each other.

So I want my left-, right-, whatever-leaning friends to just take a moment and stretch up. Look up at the winter stars that have been there far, far longer than our scrambling around like ants on this young planet in this oh-so-young nation. No political party can really represent all of us. We all have different unique philosophies cobbled together from our family histories and experiences. We all have our different sources of information – or none at all.

But we all want the same things. Love, a home, family, friends, work that provides a living wage, food on the table and some fun. And I can’t help but feel hope that we can start listening to each other, de-coding the language thrown at us from both sides and figure out that most of us are still all on this together. If we could start talking to each other and not at each other, a lot of good stuff could happen.

So I find myself hearkening back to some of my favorite classic R&B songs that keep running through my head. During the tumultuous sixties and seventies, they gave us positive messages camouflaged in some mega-funky music – you can have a good time and still try to build a better society. Here are may fave picks – many themed for the holidays – and I send love and good tidings no matter who you worship, who you love, or the skin you were born in:

Everyday People, Sly and The Family Stone:

Someday at Christmas, Stevie Wonder:

Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year, James Brown:

And then one as a tribute to the late, great Sharon Jones – 8 Days of Love:

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