193 Postcards

at 11:43 PM
Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

This article is more than 4 years old.

Bill Baird knew the towering stack of postcards wouldn’t change anything, except buy him a little relief from the sickness in his soul.

In a state of rage and disgust after months of listening to the absurdity of our national news and fraught national discourse, I kind of snapped and decided on a symbolic and futile gesture: write a postcard to every UN ambassador -- all 192 of them -- plus our President. My postcard let these leaders know that music is the universal language and represents the best way forward for humanity in this confused age we now inhabit.

Writing 193 postcards took awhile. There were many countries I’d never even heard of. I'd never heard of Naru, nor São Tomé and Príncipe, and definitely had never heard of Vanuatu. I guess now they've heard of me and my thoughts on the power of music.

In the postcard, I poured out my heart and soul to these unseen UN ambassadors.

“I know that music might seem frivolous in these fraught times,” I wrote, “but I truly believe that creativity and empathy, two qualities best embodied in music, are the way forward for humanity. Our American music represents a better version of what America has to offer: hope, humor, and a celebration of life.”


Two days later, I mailed this giant stack of postcards.

I know my little dose of levity and common sense will inevitably be deposited directly to the recycling bin in the corner of every UN ambassador’s office. I don’t care. I believe in symbolic, pointless gestures. They reaffirm my humanity and confuse the machine. They purge my hopelessness.

I believe that a cry into the void is well worth the effort, even if nobody ever hears what I'm doing. I know that, deep inside, all this effort will resonate and make me stronger. I also enjoy the thought of the Tuvalu UN ambassador taking a moment from his day and humming along to a favorite tune.

With a Perspective, this is Bill Baird.

Bill Baird is a writer and musician living in Oakland.