Weeks ago, to recognize the power of protest music, acknowledge its role in creating a culture of dissent and how musicians translate social issues and systemic problems into song, The Dissenter launched a daily feature to highlight a protest song every weekday. The daily feature went on hiatus. In recent days, the daily feature has resumed with a particular focus on Christmas-themed protest songs.
Laura Burhenn is a singer, who has a music project called The Mynabirds. In November 2010, she released a song called, “All I Want is Truth (for Christmas).”
It puts into words a world development that has become increasingly clear: climate change means having a merry Christmas without snow.
Have yourself a merry little christmas
Have it while you can
Cause the scientists predict another record level year
It will be warm enough outside for all the birds to stay right here
And without the migratory paths we won’t know where to go
Cause next year we’ll learn to celebrate without a snow
Burhenn then encourages people to have a happy New Year while they can because politicians will be back to their same arguments about whether to start another war or raise another debt. “The elders” will be “in their robes” wondering where we stand. But, “we won’t care. We’ll sip our coffees and we’ll watch our TVs—Yeah, they’re all flat screens.” And she adds, “Whatever you do, don’t turn on the news.”
Then, as if to show that she can enjoy Christmas and not be totally miserable, she says she will take packages to the “old Salvation Army up the road” and sit down with her love and “remember what it means it celebrate without a single store bought thing.”
It is a song opposed to consumerism, warmongering, failed politics, willful ignorance and climate change. It is a Christmas song that puts all these issues into a song while at the same time promoting holiday spirit. And it is a contemporary song worth listening to this holiday season, if only to pause for a moment and think about the true meaning of Christmas.
If you have requests for songs that should be featured or if you have a protest song you recorded, which you would like to see featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org. And all previous Protest Song of the Day selections can be found here.