I was deeply moved that Mr. Seeger, now in his late 80s, had decided to acknowledge what had been his major blind spot – opposing social injustice in America while supporting the most tyrannical of regimes abroad.
Mr. Seeger rarely performs anymore. But if he does, and if he sings this song, I suspect that few in the audience would have any idea of what it is about. And I doubt that any other singer today would cover it. Only an audience composed entirely of the now-aging old left veterans would understand it instantly.
Undoubtedly, many of them would be shocked. I phoned Mr. Seeger at his home in Beacon, NY, and thanked him for his letter and its warm and supportive tone. We spent some time reminiscing about the old days and people we knew and things we had experienced together.
Turning to a discussion of the community he lives in, Mr. Seeger told me he’s a friend of the Republican mayor of his town, who sponsors community events and welcomes him as a participant. Mr. Seeger, it is clear, believes in bringing people together for good works, and in reconciliation.
Mr. Seeger is still a man of the political left, and I’m certain we disagree about much. But I never thought I would hear him acknowledge the realities of Stalinism. I honor and admire him for doing so now.
I slammed Seeger earlier, and I still feel he was an integral part of the radical New Left machine that bamboozled so many people in th 1960s and 1970s. But he deserves this to be reported as well.