Two isolated events, but somehow they have become wrapped around each other in my head. First, an email from someone I barely know, thanking me for prayers I never offered and asking me to keep them coming. Then a friend of mine says he wants to write a follow up song to “Eve of Destruction”—but he thinks the process would be too depressing.
Best known for Barry McGuire’s rendition, the original “Eve” exploded onto the scene in 1965 spilling teenage angst everywhere.
The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’
Many young people marched in the streets to protest an unjust war in Asia. They forced the older generation to end the conflict, stop the flow of body bags and learn a hard lesson, a lesson those same young adults would somehow forget less than four decades later.
Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it’s bound to scare ya boy]
We were the generation that was going to make a difference. We were going to teach the world to sing while we awaited the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, when peace would guide the planets and love would steer the stars. Most importantly, we were going to pass along to our children a world of love and compassion, eschewing one of greed and mistrust.
Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’
I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
And marches alone can’t bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin’
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’
“Frustratin’” is putting it mildly. Today handfuls of senators do pass legislation. Hundreds of thousands of pages of legislation, all aimed at exercising more control over every aspect of our lives. Sure, some laws are needed. But we delude ourselves if we think that majority of those we elect—and then they appoint—have our, rather than their own, best interests in mind. Our politicians have become an elite society and their actions are determined based on how best to hold power and win the next election, pure and simple.
Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it’s the same old place
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace
That “same old place” just seems more worn and more tired than it ever has. Red China is just one of many enemies (many in the guise of friends) waiting for and encouraging our “comeuppance.” It’s harder to leave here for four days in space because the government is curtailing our space program. Selma may not be as volatile as in 1965,but visit Chicago, Detroit and so many other inner cities, as well as the southern border of Texas, New Mexico and California and tell me you feel as safe as you should.
So what does this have to do with the email I received thanking me for prayers and asking for more? Well, despite the unusually depressing tone of this publisher’s note, I remain an optimist. But that is getting harder and harder to maintain. I have always believed that men and women of goodwill, though they disagree on some issues, can always find a way to resolve differences if they only agree to talk them over. I’ve also always agreed in the benevolence of a Higher Power and that prayer works.
But today, public discourse is dominated by talking heads seeing who can shout the loudest and label the opposition in the foulest of terms. Greed and fear have infiltrated our homes and businesses. And our most effective means of communicating with each other and with Whomever or Whatever we each worship, has been reduced to impersonal social media, which really isn’t social at all.
Today, more than ever, we and our children need faith, friendship and trust. Last time I looked, there is no app for that.
And, tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Mm, no no, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve