Feb 15

My Pandemic Playlist #4: “Why Shouldn’t We” by Mary Chapin Carpenter

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Both Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers had me on their late night network TV shows (CBS and NBC, respectively) a number of times during the lockdown of 2020-2021, live from their attic and basement home studios to me in my apartment’s spare bedroom. I was grateful that my voice was heard by millions alongside their comedic Swiftian assaults on Trump and all who were determined to crush us and our Democracy. Their brilliant satirical work — imagine if Carlin/Pryor/Groucho/the Smothers Bros had a show right now — has done more to save us and our sanity than any single member of Congress, anyone in the White House or anything on HGTV (my pandemic go-to when in total freak-out — “we can build off the grid!”).

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One night in 2020, appearing as Colbert’s first guest, I mentioned during the break that there was a song I’d been listening to earlier in the day and I thought it relevant to our discussion on air tonight — and asked, “even though I’m not a singer, could I share the last verse of the song at the end with your audience?

“If you don’t like it,” I said to Stephen, “you can just cut it out.”

In his usual sly, wink-of-an-eye deadpan, he responded, “Don’t worry, we will.” That cracked me up. So, when it came time to wrap, I bravely (crazily) gave it my best. 

It was a song by the folk singer Mary Chapin Carpenter — “Why Shouldn't We.” When you hear her sing it (hit the play arrow above), you’ll see why it’s on my Pandemic Playlist. I love the challenge she throws at us to, “let your spirits rise” and that no matter the time we’re caught in right now, “it’s not too late.” There’s also a spirituality to it that reminds us whatever we believe in, or nothing at all, help awaits us. Please close your eyes for just a few minutes and give a listen to this beautiful song.

(When you’re done, and if you have another 30 seconds to spare, you can hear me sing the last verse of it to Colbert in the YouTube audio below. He chose to leave it in the show, an act of kindness to be sure.)


[Verse 1]
We believe in things that we cannot see
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?
Hands that heal can set a chained man free
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?
And we believe in peace within every heart
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?
Burning brightly, brightly in the dark
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?

[Chorus]
So come on darling, feel your spirits rise
Come on children, open up your eyes
God is all around, Buddha's at the gate
Allah hears your prayers, it's not too late

[Verse 2]
And we believe in things that will give us hope
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?
Let your voice be heard, celebrate your vote
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?

[Chorus]
So come on darling, feel your spirits rise
Come on children, open up your eyes
God is all around, Buddha's at the gate
Allah hears your prayers, it's not too late

[Verse 3]
We believe in things that make us all the same
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?
Love belongs to all, in deed and name
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?
And we believe in things that can't be done
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?
Lift up your heart, put down your gun
Why shouldn't we? Why shouldn't we?
We believe in things we're told that we can't change
Why shouldn't we?
We had heroes once and we will again
Why shouldn't we?

[Chorus]
So come on darling
Come on children
God is all around, Buddha's at the gate
Allah hears our prayers, it's not too late
So come on darling, feel your spirits rise
Come on children, open up your eyes
God is all around, Buddha's at the gate
Allah hears your prayers, it's not too late

[Outro]
Why shouldn't we?
Why shouldn't we?
Why shouldn't we?
Why shouldn't we?
Why shouldn't we?


Just a reminder, on this Sunday the 20th at 3 PM (ET), I’m having another Q&A! If you’re a monthly or yearly subscriber to my Substack (only $5 a month!), you can come ask me any questions you’d like! And this month, we’re going to do it through Zoom, so you can ask me your questions face to face!

If you’re a monthly or yearly subscriber, you’ll get an e-mail on Friday with a sign-up form for joining the Zoom session next Sunday — the first 300 paid subscribers to sign up will be able to join the Zoom call, and after that, if you don’t make the cut, you’ll still be able to watch along & submit questions to me by text. If you sign up after the email goes out, you’ll be able to still find the post via Substack if you’re logged in.

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