The past few weeks have been amazingly eventful to say the least at the feet of Lady Liberty. There have been Supreme Court hearings on civil rights, bombings, explosions, senseless death, and significant legislation shot down. The Boston Marathon Bombing, civil unions and marriage for LGBT population, West Texas explosion, gun legislation, are among the topics in the headlines.
There is a feeling in the air that’s got an electric snap to it. Unsettling? Yes. Frightening ? A little. Tempers are flaring. Hearts are breaking. Masses of people are more than a little disappointed in what’s happening in the land of the free.
When things of this nature happen on a national scale it always transports me back to a morning standing in my parents’ living room listening to the radio watching for the school bus to ramble down the country road. This particular morning was in April in 1968. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated and the nation was grieving. Rioting was breaking out in different cities every day over civil rights. We were in a full-scale war in Viet Nam. Bomb threats seemed common place. A bill adding a 10 percent surcharge to income taxes and reducing government spending was signed by President Johnson who effectively admitted it had been impossible to provide both “guns and butter.” Bobby Kennedy was deep in his presidential campaign against the Kennedy family’s arch rival, Richard Nixon.
Virtually everything seemed at risk. The mirror of the American Dream was beginning to splinter.
Fast forward 45 years, and things are not that different. Circumstances around the details put a different spin on what’s happening this very minute, but it feels the same.
The difference is people are talking instead of rioting and protesting. People aren’t talking nicely, but talking nonetheless.
That morning in my parents living room, somehow I knew that music could bring people together. The Rascals, The Beatles, The Yardbirds, Otis Redding, Merrilee Rush, and Tom Jones all had Top 100 hits that year. Radio was the best way for me to listen to music and I did just about every waking moment when I wasn’t in school.
That’s all I want to do today. Living out in the Tennessee hills along a rural country road, looking out the front window of the living room, the radio is blasting a mix of classic rock.
If the past 45 years have taught me anything it’s that things work out just the way they are meant to. It may not be what I want exactly, but everything’s gonna be alright.
Whatever you’re doing, I hope you reach for your favorite music to soothe your soul. We’re all weary and worried. But everything’s gonna be alright.