“Theirs is a land with a wall around it” – Ta-Nehisi Coates and Fridays with Billy.

Even the most casual reader of this blog will know that I am a great admirer of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s work, and am very active in the community that has grown up among his readers — and though lately I don’t have as much time to hang out there as I have done in the past, I’m still taking it all in.

Yesterday, for instance, Ta-Nehisi wrote not once but twice about the essential cruelty of America’s right-wing. In the first post, he wrote:

[An] embrace of cruelty is arguably the dominant feature of the present conservative movement. It has been repeatedly expressed in alleged “humor.” The assertion of a right of judgement over the First Lady’s physical person, for instance. Or watermelon patches on the front lawn. Or Obama waffles.  There is little distance from that kind of cruelty to aspirin between one’s legs and from aspirin between one’s legs to transvaginal probes.

In the second, he discussed Rush Limbaugh’s execrable treatment of a law student who had wanted to testify before the House of Representatives on the issue of insurance coverage for birth control, writing:

[I]t is worth calling this what is is–the normalization of cruelty–and asserting, no matter how redundant, that is wrong and evidence of the lowest aspects of humanity.

It’s very hard to escape the same conclusion, in light of the racism, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-poor animus that the GOP and its hangers-on have been spewing with convincing vehemence ever since the 2008 elections, and I think that was part of what I was getting at (if in a round-about way) in this post: “Liberals, Conservatives, and human nature.

But of course, Billy Bragg has had a thing or two to say about these same notions. Because he gets it, Billy does. And so today I bring you “Between The Wars” — and as is so often true with Billy, this song is both very specific to time and place, and shockingly universal.

I kept the faith and I kept voting
Not for the iron fist but for the helping hand
For theirs is a land with a wall around it
And mine is a faith in my fellow man

Theirs is a land with a wall around it, and mine is a faith in my fellow man. Yep.

full lyricsWhat is Fridays with Billy?

Milkman of Human Kindness – Fridays with Billy.

No reason. Just ’cause I love it, and I sometimes walk around singing “I loovvee you, I am the milkman of human kindness….”

If you’re lonely, I will call
If you’re poorly, I will send poetry

I love you…
I am the milkman of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint

If you’re sleeping, I will wait
If your bed is wet, I will dry your tears

I love you…
I am the milkman of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint

(I actually really love this performance, but can’t embed it, so if you like the song, check that one out, too).

full lyricsWhat is Fridays with Billy?