I started writing the song, “Blankets,” during the spring of 2016. It came at the intersection of “Oh, this isn’t a joke any more”and “Oh, no, this may actually happen” regarding Trump’s presidential run. The song came as the result of Stacy Googling “How to move to Canada” and us discussing more than once the pros & cons of actually doing so. It came as a result of seeing that man gain unwavering support despite the absolutely awful things he said about women, immigrants, and minorities. It came as the result of his blatant lies again and again being regarded as gospel fact. It came as the result of being truly afraid, despite the fact that I knew my marriage, right to exist, or citizenship would never be called into question, so “If I’m scared, how scared must everyone else feel?”
At the time, running away and living in the Canadian wilderness with Stacy and our sons was all I wanted to do. There seemed to be no safer place than under the stars, as far away from that man as we could get.
Of course, I knew we would never actually leave the country. This is our home.
Still, I was scared so I wrote this song and I felt a little better. Even now, when I hear or play “Blankets,” I’m transported to a place where it’s just my family and I, far away from everything bad and I feel a little safer.
Tomorrow night, that man is holding a rally in Murphysboro, IL. Forty-five minutes from where I live. There’s a tent set up on Main Street in our hometown selling merchandise with his name and likeness. There will be people I know attending the rally. More than once, I’ve foolishly allowed myself to read the comments on FB posts for the Southern Illinoisan or Daily Egyptian about the event. My stomach hurts just thinking about it.
Again it hits too close to home and again I want nothing more than to be as far away as possible.
I won’t be though. I’ll be here, forty-five mins away.
And around 9:30pm or so, my friends and I will play this song and, for the moment, I expect I’ll feel a little better.
I hope you’ll be somewhere feeling safe and alright too.
Being a dude of very much privilege, I hit this realization later than most. I remember Jon Stewart saying “Please run” in like 2014 (or ’15) when Trump announced he may run for president because Stewart thought it would be hilarious and that the guy would never win. For some people I know it was never a joke. But for me, for those first few months before he even secured the Republican nomination, I thought for sure it would never happen. I’ve always been an optimist, but maybe I was actually just too scared to imagine the possibility.