(revised and updated in May, 2021)
The protest songs of the 60s were an inspirational, driving force for change.
The year 2525 is still a long way off. The warfare that the song In the Year 2525 talked about is still consuming human beings and their money. The question remains, will man still be alive in 2525.
I am not a prophet now the son of one. Yet, the current protests and cries for a dynamic change in Western culture bring the protest songs of the 60s back to my my mind and spirit.
Bob Dylan could “see through the masks” of those who plotted and planned wars. He told them so in Masters of War way back in 1963 before the Vietnam war really got cranked up. He saw the war masters as only building to destroy. Then, as now, they fasten triggers for others to fire. Wars keep going on and on and new ones are birthed.
Pete Seager wrote and the Kingston Trio sang “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” We still have not learned. The flowers keep going to soldiers and the soldier to graveyards. I so remember seeing young people tossing flowers at their adversaries. We are also back to young soldiers heaving ammo at unseen enemies.
Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote and Donovan made popular the Universal Soldier. Seventeen or thirty-one, they have been fighting for a thousand years, it seems. We know that we should not kill, yet will we kill forever? My, oh my, when will all the madness end? Must the human race end first? War absolutely cannot be ended by war!
Oh, man, Stevie Wonder told Nixon what we must tell officials today when they speak of minor adjustments and repositioning of troops “You Haven’t Done Nothin.” The officials need to ‘take our cue’ in this age too.
It is time, way over time, to join John Lennon and sing and preach “Give Peace a Chance”. Peace often comes with a price. It is not always the price of a life, meaning death. It is often the price of putting one’s entire life into pushing for and insisting on peace.
We may not be on the Eve of Destruction, but who am I to doubt Barry McGuire. We hear and see the bombs going off everywhere. Is our blood as mad as his? A hand full of senators aren’t putting an end to war. We have returned after 40 some odd years and “it is the same old place.”
I am telling you, we should sing the protest songs again. I am and will. Join me.