The Universal Soldier

Let’s talk about the war in Iraq.  What a waste.  Imagine if we hadn’t been lied to prior to our initial foray into Iraq.  The $10 billion a month we have been spending there might have been used to bolster our own country and all of our many needs.  I still wonder how Bush got away with his own phantom military service in the Texas National Guard.  That, perhaps, was the warning, the writing on the wall, that war is great for everyone —– except the hypocritical coward by the name of George W. Bush.

But enough words.  Folk music, anti-war protest songs and especially children’s ditties have had a major impact on the nation’s attitudes toward war.

Sometimes the despair is overwhelming.  Listen to Joan Baez and Mimi Farina:

And sometimes, people need a hard kick in their gut to awaken any semblance of sense regarding the miseries of war.

How many children sitting around a campfire have sung “One Tin Soldier”?  The following is a video, featuring my daughter singing about six years ago, at Camp Greenway.  The children, the rapport between the staff and kids, the overwhelming aura of peace and camaraderie is what we human beings should strive to attain:

Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote this next song, as performed by Donovan in 1965.  “The Universal Soldier” is eloquent and complete about the insanity of war:

“He’s the universal soldier and he really is to blame.  His orders come from far away no more.  They come from here and there and you and me and brothers can’t you see, this is not a way to put an end to war?”

I just do not get it:  we humans supposedly are the highest evolved of any species on this planet.  We have the ability for reason, speech and compassion.  Why don’t we resort to those tactics more often instead of our indiscriminate use of guns and bombs?  It certainly makes sense to at least TRY these methods before launching an all-out, impulsive war.  We aren’t even adept in display behavior, like many animals engage in instead of an all-out attack.  If we humans lash out with heavy artillery instead of using every bit of deterrence first, why are we considered more highly evolved than our animal counterparts?  Is our need for victory, whether economic, philosophical or political, more important than our childrens’ lives?  Would you prefer to have an “ism” or a dollar close to your heart rather than a child holding your hand?  We need to address the content and emotion expressed in songs around the campfire to figure out how to have those ideas translate into our adult lives to promote world peace.  These questions need to be addressed now more than ever:

The musical arts are a starting point for lofty ideals.  It is up to each and every one of us to make those ideals a reality.

We came together to elect Barack Obama to the Presidency.  We can come together again to make the impossible possible.  We are the ones we have been waiting for.

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