Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hearing the ghost of Tom Joad

Jeffrey Feldman reflects about how The Grapes of Wrath informs his views in these times of economic troubles this Thanksgiving.

Like Tom Joad returning to his home only to find his family gone and the house half covered by the encroaching rows of cotton, each of us this Thanksgiving will find something at home that we did not expect. We will find people in our lives who are facing fears that they never expected and that they feel illequiped to affront. At home this year, in this time of economic upheaval, we will find our communities not quite as they were, people not in the places they should be.

If you are like me, you might stand on the shoulders of someone who has seen these changes long before us, and share what you find with loved ones nearby. In a time about to be worn thin by some kind of storm--not of dust, but of something just as destructive--we should remember the value not just of gathering together, but of listening to the voices around us and of reaching out to those facing down the struggle for fundamental needs.

"The Ghost of Tom Joad" covered by Rage Against the Machine. Bruce Springsteen did the original version.

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