On our way to our gig last night we were listening to some of Don McLean's old stuff, which I had recently dug out, and I was touched by the beauty of his art of expression, and most particularly in his anti-war songs like "The Grave," or "Everybody Loves Me, Baby" etc.
It made me realize how drastically things have changed since the early 70s. People just don't write lyrics like that anymore. The vast majority have come to accept war as a commodity of life to preserve the Western status quo, or the American Way of life, or whatever.
Instead of rebelling against their governments' falling into nations that they have no business dropping bombs on, they accept the media hogwash and propaganda of "the enemy" and give their silent consent to the daily mass murder that's happening on behalf of their tax money.
And that in spite of the lesson we ought to have learned from fairly recent history of what guilt people can collectively heap upon themselves by silently consenting to the evils committed by their governments.
How many church visits will it take to clear a conscience of that burden, that's mostly not even recognized? How many donations or tithes will it take to buy forgiveness for the silent tolerance of the slaughter perpetrated in the name of us, "the people?"
The closest thing in recent times that I heard to some of the anti-war protest songs from a time when at least a substantial amount of the world population honestly admitted that war was evil and that the U.S. had no business wreaking havoc in Vietnam are songs like Pink's "Dear Mr.President," (although the song does not mention anything about American foreign policies, but only deals with domestic issues) and, of course, we've got Pearl Jam's rendition of Dylan's "Masters of War." - Oh, and perhaps some of the Dixie Chicks' Anti-Bush rantings, for which they'll always have my respect. Oh, and of course, good ol' Neil Young's "Impeach the President," bless his soul!
Pretty much everyone else that I know of dances to the modern drums of war, or rather, to the tune of "let's ignore what our country is doing in other countries," unless another bunch of flag-wrapped coffins arrive at home, that is.
The trademark of the 21st century, thus far: the (cultural) voices of truth have become (nearly) silent. The nations cower in fear of their leaders and follow them like sheep to the slaughter of the innocents.
The problem with that is the universal law of cause and effect as laid down by many spiritual teachers, including Jesus' follower St. Paul, when he said, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." There's a cold wind blowin', and we're beginning to see the first fruits of our "harvest" in a crumbling economy and a crisis which now has officially exceeded the rank of severity of that of the Great Depression, (along with forecasts of food shortages coming upon us as early as this year, which many of us may find themselves unable to deal with).
Even the young staff of the joint we played in last night acknowledged in a conversation I overheard while packing up our gear, that we're still going to chew on the repercussions of the current crisis for the next 5, 10 or 15 years, and that even though Europe hasn't seen the worst of it.
Unfortunately, it will probably take more than a financial crisis for people to wake up and tell their government, "Mr. Obama, don't follow in the footsteps of your predecessor, and please, stop killing people in Pakistan or Afghanistan." Or to their most strongly supported ally, Israel, for that matter, "Please stop killing innocent Palestinian children!"
Even more unfortunately, if history continues repeating itself (- and that in such a drastic manner that some people have started to doubt whether history is really real -), then this current crisis, like the one in the 30s, will only lead to more and greater war, greater need for some "culprit" to blame and make pay for the domestic dilemma, greater cries and thirst for blood, and who will be the next people that will answer with a shattering unanimous, roaring "YES!" to the question, "Do you want total war?"
Younger people nowadays speak critically of the hippie movement. But you've got to give the hippies credit for having had the guts to stand up for their love for peace, for being willing to acknowledge (unlike many supposed "Christians") the Biblical reality that war is evil, and for being willing to oppose their authorities for their stance against war.
They may be looked upon with ridicule by today's silent consenters and smug cogs in the machine that have learned to shut up and do as they're told, but maybe a wiser future generation will look back at those rebels of the 60s and early 70s as the true heroes of the 20th century, and perhaps even as the last of their kind in history as we know it altogether.
In my experiences with abundant acquaintances I've come to realize the fact that some people simply refuse to acknowledge the existence and reality of their mistakes, thus depriving themselves of the possibility to ever learn from them, but thus to remain "willingly ignorant," as the Bible puts it, which Kent Hovind appropriately translated into modern English as "dumb on purpose."
What if an entire nation or generation chooses to be willingly ignorant, or "dumb on purpose?"
It reminds me of one of those relics from the 60s which may have even sounded a little naive back then, but in the face of the reality of the past 4 decades, acquires a bitter by-taste: "When will they ever learn? - -
When will they ever learn?"
If "there is no peace, saith my God, for the wicked," then I dare to re-define "the wicked" as "those who want no peace."
Some of my favorite Anti-War Songs from the 60s and early 70s:
More recent anti-war songs:
Some of my own: