San Francisco’s Rachel Garlin Reminds Us That “Democracy Demands”

Rachel Garlin, singer, composer, and activist from San Francisco, released her most recent album Mondegreens in the spring.

Now she has returned with a song that packs an enormous wallop for a soft acoustic tune only 2:45 long. The song is “Democracy Demands,” her new single, with a beautiful black-and-white video to accompany it. The song is deceptive, for its powerful words speak directly to the current crisis in our country. Everything is on tap: divisive politics, hate speech, climate change, and environmental concerns.

Who’s about to gamble
with the commander out to sea? 

From Garlin’s press release:

“Democracy Demands” is musical activism from a working mother of three who knows that her vote in a blue state can only move the needle so far. The song emerged after days of hazy, wild-fire air in San Francisco finally yielded to a day of clean air, only to end with news of the passing of RBG. Garlin took her wife and kids to the Bolinas lagoon for an afternoon of shallow wading and reflection. Boats on the water appeared to her as politicians, circling each other — sharing a body of water but disconnected, solitary, drifting, or stuck. A poignant performance and a recording that lacks any pretense, Garlin sings, “Is the climate really changing? Go ask your Mother Earth” before leaving listeners swirling in their own reflections about what else we can do to stir the seas of change.

Enjoy Garlin’s new song, recent singles, and her four albums on our Spotify playlist. “Democracy Demands” that you give her a listen.

At first it seemed audacious
Though everybody knew
The grounds were ever-present
And the call was overdue

But who’s about to gamble
With the commander out to sea
Sometimes democracy
Demands scrutiny

The legislative process
Is not a yachter’s race
You can lift an anchor
And still be floating in one place

But who’s about to capsize
The captain out to sea
Sometimes democracy
Demands disunity

Don’t let waves of panic drown your sense
Hold to your history, dissent
Plain intimidation is enough to shut the gate
You’ll never find the lighthouse
If you’re scared to stay out late

Is the climate really changing
Go ask your Mother Earth
Did you know mourning doves are hunted
More than any other bird
At least in North America where their flight is fast and straight
Sometimes democracy demands a stance that topples over hate
Sometimes democracy demands a challenge to the owner of the sea
Sometimes democracy demands mutiny

Rachel Garlin



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