From her earliest days as an entertainer and activist, Joan Baez has inspired millions through her music and by her actions. Her life is characterized by her passionate and ceaseless efforts to bring the healing light of peace and social justice to the dark corners of the world. Until recently, she has resisted pressure to endorse political candidates. But, the times are changing for Baez and, I hope, for the future of the U.S. On Sunday, February 3, 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle, carried the following letter to the editor under the heading Leader on a new journey:”
Editor – I have attempted throughout my life to give a voice to the voiceless, hope to the hopeless, encouragement to the discouraged, and options to the cynical and complacent. From Northern Ireland to Sarajevo to Latin America, I have sung and marched, engaged in civil disobedience, visited war zones, and broken bread with those who had little bread to break.
Through all those years, I chose not to engage in party politics. Though I was asked many times to endorse candidates at every level, I was never comfortable doing so. At this time, however, changing that posture feels like the responsible thing to do. If anyone can navigate the contaminated waters of Washington, lift up the poor, and appeal to the rich to share their wealth, it is Sen. Barack Obama. If anyone can bring light to the darkened corners of this nation and restore our positive influence in world affairs, it is Barack Obama. If anyone can begin the process of healing and bring unity to a country that has been divided for too long, it is Barack Obama. It is time to begin a new journey.