Going to a Town, by Rufus Wainwright

November 4th was the one year anniversary of the election of Barack Obama, and it is a day I am unlikely to ever forget . . . you know, unless some horrible form of dementia eats away my brain as a senior citizen.  But if it doesn’t, I will be retelling the story of how pessimistic and nervous I was early in the evening, and how excited and thrilled I was when the numbers started coming in, and how overjoyed and euphoric I felt when the winner was annouced in a landslide victory. I was on U Street in Washington, DC, celebrating with friends and family and complete strangers, and ready to have my faith restored. It was hands down one of the most spectacular experiences of my life.

I haven’t had the best relationship with the United States in my adulthood. Call it “domestic” abuse. Yes I realize I have just “made light of” domestic abuse and dementia. I know, I’m already going to hell for other things, relax. It started when I was 16 with a stolen election and rapidly sped downhill with September 11th, the blundering of George W., a bizarrely rushed into war in Iraq, John Kerry and his knife-in-the-heart loss, Hurricane Katrina, the continued blundering of George W., a bullet to the face by Dick Cheney, and was wrapped up with a horrific human rights violations bitch slap. Barack Obama was the one who finally intervened and showed me that a normal relationship could exist, that I don’t deserved to be battered, that things don’t have to be so hostile – that it WASN’T MY FAULT. A year later, I still feel that way to an extent, but just because we have a new President doesn’t mean everything that disturbs me about this place has vanished.

In early 2007, my favorite artist Rufus Wainwright released an album called Release the Stars. On it is a song called Going to a Town that completely shocked me in its honesty. The song is technically about gay rights in this country and his subsequent flee to Germany, but it’s opening line, “I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down, I’m going to a place that has already been disgraced, I’m going to see some folks who have already been let down, I’m so tired of America” stopped me dead in my tracks. I loved it. It was exactly how I was feeling – sick and tired. Sick and tired of the arrogance of our government, of our people, and how negatively we have been impacting the rest of the planet with our rampant xenophobia. The song is so sad, and it makes me wonder if people who waste their time hating others have ever considered another human’s perspective? It just boggles the mind how venemous people can be to other people who want nothing more than to live a NORMAL LIFE.

 I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down
I’m going to a place that has already been disgraced
I’m gonna see some folks who have already been let down
I’m so tired of America
I’m gonna make it up for all of the Sunday Times
I’m gonna make it up for all of the nursery rhymes
They never really seemed to want to tell the truth
I’m so tired of you, America
Making my own way home, ain’t gonna be alone
I got a life to lead, America
Tell me, do you really think you’ll go to hell for having loved?
Tell me, enough of thinking everything that you’ve done is good
I really need to know, after soaking the body of Jesus Christ in blood
I’m so tired of you, America
I really need to know
I may just never see you again or might as well
You took advantage of a world that loved you well
I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down
I’m so tired of you, America
Making my own way home
Ain’t gonna be alone
I’m going to a town
That has already been burnt down

Though President Obama makes me feel a lot better about this country, we’re not free from the incredibly vocal, hateful, and ok, ignorant people who still have their claws dug into politics, as witnessed last week in Maine. What can we do to make them go away? Or are they the real America?

You can listen to the song here.


2 thoughts on “Going to a Town, by Rufus Wainwright

  1. Lisa says:

    Great post and thought provoking questions. I still shake my head with wonder and embarrassment when I see and hear some things from my fellow Americans. How did the county that was founded founded by refugees seeking religious/political freedom come to be what we are today? Since when did “Christians” (of which I am one) become so filled with hate and bigotry? What happened to the basic “christian” values?

    Connor and I have had some interesting conversations during the election last year. He is 13 and already see the discrepancy between what he is learning in his Catholic School and what Catholicism practices. It was really interesting because they were studying the Corporal Works of Mercy at Election time. When was the last time you saw a Wing nut Christian Republican practice these:
    1. Feed the hungry
    2. Give drink to the thirsty
    3. Clothe the naked
    4. Shelter the homeless
    5. Visit the sick
    6. Visit those in prison
    7. Bury the dead
    Aren’t those more aligned with liberal policies?

  2. […] Wainwright in Concert 4 08 2010 I’ve already written about my love for Rufus Wainwright here, but since seeing him perform live was number 23 on my Life List, I’ve got to bring him up […]

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