The Eve of Destruction

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There is an adage that says “those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it”.  The popular music of the 1960’s and 70’s often protested the dissatisfaction of the youth with the world.  The problems weren’t new, but nonetheless true.  Historically, music has always been a used as a vehicle to profess societal wrongs, imbalances, and frustrations.  Consider the lyrics written by Barry McGuire and recorded by The Grass Roots and others.

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’

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.

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]

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.

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’

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.

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
And… tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.

The words speak of the social battles of the sixties, but think how easy it is to insert today’s trouble spots into the lyrics.  Five decades have passed, but racial tensions remain, China remains a military threat, and Israel is still struggling to survive amidst a sea of Islam.  Perhaps Bob Dylan was right when he wrote:

The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

 

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