…from composer, Jim McNeely:
The main “hymn” in We Will Not Be Silenced was written in the aftermath of 9/11. There was a common refrain among most Republicans that it was time for liberals to stop their “un-patriotic” criticism of GWB and get behind the president–in other words just shut up and support Bush. I wrote the VJO piece in 2004 as a response to that. As the piece progresses the message gets louder and more dissonant. At the end, the “speaker” is exhausted, but still manages to get one more repetition stated.
I didn’t write it to be a “left-wing” piece–I’m equally concerned when people on the left tell conservatives to STFU. The “We” of the title may have initially referred to liberals; but in a larger sense it refers to all of us. Freedom of speech is not a liberal or conservative right. The First Amendment is supposed to apply to all Americans, not just the ones we agree with. Calling Nat Hentoff…
Yes, September Triptych was written as a solemn response to 9/11. There were so many issues: the number of dead; the savagery of it; the planning; the “why” of it; the “how” of it. The wake-up call it gave the US and the world; the struggle to balance civil liberties with the need to strengthen security; the political posturing and finagling that led to the invasions of Afghanistan (I supported that) and Iraq (didn’t support that). Issues that resonate today and will for a long time.