December 8, 2009
As the United States said goodbye to the '60's and entered the '70's,
the country as a whole was in the process of turning the page. The
Vietnam War was beginning to work to a close, President Nixon hadn't
faced Watergate yet, and the hippies and flower children were putting
away the tie-dye shirts and shaving their beards. It was during this
time John Lennon penned one of the most timeless songs in history, Imagine.
29 years ago today, a psychotic gunman robbed a generation of their
voice, but when you look at the lyrics to Imagine, they are just as
relevant today as they were 38 years ago.
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
With war going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ever growing
involvement of Pakistan, the nuclear tensions with Iran and North
Korea, we seem to find more and more reasons to be divided.
The seemingly coordinated bombings in that region today show how
increasingly hard it is to imagine living life in peace.
During the last presidential election, much was made of Barack
Obama's religious affiliation, strange in a country founded on
freedom of religion. It was as if our country would come to a
grinding halt if someone professing another faith were to become president.
I guess when it comes to electing our leaders, we are a long way from
a point where we imagine no religion.
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
Wall Street, can you hear this? It seems we have taken the right of
personal property to about as far an extreme as we can. When you
talk of the good of the country as a whole, or, to quote Leonard
Nimoy in Star Trek II, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of
the few, or the one", you are immediately labeled a socialist or
jealous of the wealthy. But what is wealth truly worth if it comes
at the expense of society?
From artificially inflating the housing market by writing loans to
anyone with a pulse, even when they knew it wasn't in their best
interest, to turning on each other when the bubble finally burst and
utilizing lax regulation and even more lax enforcement to profit at
the demise of other companies, the financial industry has been an
example of greed and possession. The result has been more and more
people who are unemployed, losing their homes and struggling to make
But the stock market is back on the rise, and the rich are back to
getting richer, so there is no need for them to imagine sharing all the world.
You can't help but wonder, if you were, or are, a John Lennon fan,
what his take on our state today would be. Would it inspire him to
pen another classic, or would it drive him to rally people in
protest? Because of a raving lunatic 29 years ago, unfortunately all
we can do is Imagine.
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one