Tag: filibuster

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Stevie Wonder just called to say ‘the filibuster is not working for democracy’

Watch Wonder’s brief video below.

Transcript:

“Any senator who cannot support the protection of voting rights in the United States of America cannot say that they support the Constitution. Stop the hypocrisy. Cut the bull-tish.

If you care and support our rights, do the hard work. You can’t please everybody, but you can protect all of us.

And to keep it all the way real: The filibuster is not working for democracy. Why won’t you?”

This latest video is befitting a music legend who has long used his music—and his platform—to support a number of humanitarian causes. Wonder also played a key role in the effort to make Rev. Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday.

Wonder’s dedication to equality for all started at a young age. After he was signed to Motown at the age of 11 — Berry Gordy nicknamed him “Little Stevie Wonder” — Wonder spent his teenage years playing music and touring. At a rally in Chicago that he attended when he was 15 years old, Wonder met the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to Rolling Stone. His life was changed.

Three years later, when King was killed, Wonder flew to Atlanta for the funeral and took up a decades-long fight to have the nation recognize King’s birthday as a national holiday. He paused his musical career to hold rallies trying to convince Congress to pass the bill, which eventually was signed by President Ronald Reagan.

“Why should I be involved in this great cause?” he said in 1981. “As an artist, my purpose is to communicate the message that can better improve the lives of all of us. I’d like to ask all of you just for one moment, if you will, to be silent and just to think and hear in your mind the voice of our Dr. Martin Luther King.”

He wrote the song “Happy Birthday” in 1980 to celebrate the civil rights leader, and it soon became a rallying cry for the movement to create the national holiday—which was celebrated for the first time on Jan. 20, 1986.

Lyrics:

You know it doesn’t make much sense
There ought to be a law against
Anyone who takes offense
At a day in your celebration
‘Cause we all know in our minds
That there ought to be a time
That we can set aside
To show just how much we love you
And I’m sure you would agree
It couldn’t fit more perfectly
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be
 

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday
 

I just never understood
How a man who died for good
Could not have a day that would
Be set aside for his recognition
Because it should never be
Just because some cannot see
The dream as clear as he
That they should make it become an illusion
And we all know everything
That he stood for time will bring
For in peace our hearts will sing
Thanks to Martin Luther King
 

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday

Why has there never been a holiday
Where peace is celebrated
All throughout the world

The time is overdue
For people like me and you
Who know the way to truth
Is love and unity to all God’s children
It should be a great event
And the whole day should be spent
In full remembrance
Of those who lived and died for the oneness of all people
So let us all begin
We know that love can win
Let it out, don’t hold it in
Sing it loud as you can

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday

We know the key to unity of all people
Is in the dream that you had so long ago
That lives in all of the hearts of people
That believe in unity
We’ll make the dream become a reality
I know we will
Because our hearts tell us so

Happy birthday

Happy birthday

Happy birthday

The song has also been utilized to support other causes important to Wonder. Enjoy this performance, at Radio City Music Hall in July 2009, in support of Nelson Mandela Day—which was declared an official United Nations international holiday four years later.



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