Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hello Birmingham

Ani Difranco wrote this song in the 90's after a string of abortion clinic bombings and provider murders shook the nation to its core. Aside from the obvious mention of election day, I feel as though this song is as poignant today as it was when written: we are on the cusp of a very close presidential race, and one candidate voted against making the intimidation and physical harm of an abortion clinic worker a federal crime. His running mate does not believe abortion clinic bombers are domestic terrorists. Both would like to see our right to enter a clinic and receive whatever treatment we like taken away from us.

I also find her description of how she felt in the voting booth to be extremely powerful and moving. While most don't get that powerless feeling until the one they voted for are in power and not living up to their promises, I have to admit feeling less-than-empowered last week when I exited the polling station as well.

Hello Birmingham

hold me down
i am floating away
into the overcast skies
over my home town
on election day

what is it about birmingham?
what is it about buffalo?
did the hate filled wanna build bunkers
in your beautiful red earth
they want to build them
in our shiny white snow

now i've drawn closed the curtain
in this little booth where the truth has no place
to stand
and i am feeling oh so powerless
in this stupid booth with this useless
little lever in my hand
and outside my city is bracing
for the next killing thing
standing by the bridge and praying
for the next doctor

it was just one shot
through the kitchen window
it was just two miles from here
if you fly like a crow
a bullet came to visit a doctor
in his one safe place
a bullet ensuring the right to life
whizzed past his kid and his wife
and knocked his glasses
right off of his face

and the blood poured off the pulpit
yeah the blood poured down the picket lines
yeah, the hatred was immediate
and the vengence was divine
so they went and stuffed god
down the barrel of a gun
and after him
they stuffed his only son

hello birmingham
it's buffalo
i heard you had some trouble
down there again
and i'm just calling to let to know
that someone understands

i was once escorted
through the doors of a clinic
by a man in a bulletproof vest
and no bombs went off that day
so i am still here to say
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
on this election day

-Ani Difranco

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