“When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there.”
To the Parkland students, and all March for Our Lives participants:
The courage, fortitude, and perseverance you have shown in the face of overwhelming adversity is both inspiring and humbling. I graduated from high school in 1999, weeks after the Columbine shooting, and if my generation had done what you are doing now, maybe there wouldn’t have been a need for you to step up and speak out. I can’t go back and change what is past, but I stand in solidarity with you now.
Jim Henson has always been a hero of mine, and you are now doing what he aspired to do, and ultimately succeeding in doing: making a difference and bettering the world. Jim Henson believed in the power of children; he created Fraggle Rock in 1983 with the express purpose of bringing peace to the world.
I know that you’re experiencing a lot of pushback, and I’m sure you understand that that only shows that you’re having an impact. If the NRA weren’t scared of you, they wouldn’t waste their time or money trying to discredit you.
Nevertheless, all that negativity can be tough to bear. I know that you’re not lacking in strength, resilience, and determination, but I also know that you–that we–have a long, hard fight yet to be contested. I’ve often found that music–particularly Muppet music–has the power to comfort and inspire, so I’ve curated a list of what I consider to be the best and most uplifting songs from Henson-related productions. When the world seems dark and hopeless, I hope that they will bring a little light into your hearts.
A few of these songs bear further comment:
This song is from a 1978 episode of the Muppet Show, a little before my time and long before yours. Prior to the performance, Harry Belafonte gives an introduction in which he says, “There really isn’t any difference in any of us if we take the time out to understand each other. And the question is, do I know who you are? Do you know who I am? Do we care about each other? Cuz if we do, together we can turn the world around.”
Though written for Snoopy: The Musical, the lesser-known of two stage adaptations of the Peanuts comic strip, “Just One Person” has become the Muppets’ unofficial anthem. This performance is from Jim Henson’s memorial service in New York City on May 21, 1990.
This song is from a Henson TV special from 1986 called The Tale of the Bunny Picnic. It’s an obscure production even for obsessive Muppet fans like me, but its climactic musical number “Drum of Time” may well be the greatest protest song ever written. Some of the lyrics are difficult to understand, so I’d like to transcribe those lyrics for you now so you get the full impact of the song:
We are marching to the drum of time; it tells us where to go.
We are marching; we are searching for an end to hate and woe.
We will march against the mighty; we will march against the strong.
We will march to free our brother, who has suffered under wrong.
Drum of right, lead the fight!
Drum of time, we shall climb!
We will march to fight the wicked ’til the wicked takes to flight,
For we serve the drum of right
Today you march in service of what is right, and I stand with you in solidarity. We will march to fight the wicked, and the wicked will take to flight.
Here’s the whole playlist: