Pack Up Our Things

Susan Tedeschi’s singing a new song in live concerts lately that supposedly her record company won’t let her put on an album. It’s called “Pack Up Our Things and Go,” and it’s about the US’s Iraq experiment. The lyrics aren’t frighteningly great because they seem to lapse into sentimental pundit-speak without really parodying it:

Bring our young soldiers back home; what are we fighting for?

I know this isn’t our war.

Has our journey just begun? Or are we back where we started from?

Who knows what lies in store?

But the title and sentiment sound just the right note now. This largish foreign policy problem seems as if it has an immediate domestic—and by domestic I mean familial—solution.

Just briefly imagine one side of the conceit: a husband and wife decide that a certain situation isn’t right for the kids or the family. The neighbors sell crystal meth, the jobs have dried up, highrises obscure the mountains that once cast gentle shadows over the town. They resolve to leave. It might be a tough decision, and hardships may lie in wait elsewhere, but they’re too weary to stay. That the decision was undertaken as a family for the general good is cozy and reassuring.

The song grants us more courage to suggest that the debate is over and it’s time to pack our shit and go.