...if you want it.
Those words first hit the airwaves almost 37 years ago to the day. And maybe it is just me, but I seem to be hearing this song more this holiday season. Maybe it is because of the cover version by Sarah McLaughlin that was released this year. Maybe it is because I am more in tune with John Lennon songs in general. Or maybe it is because of the times we live in now – times that are as eerily similar to when those first words left the mouth of one of history’s greatest songwriters and most influential people.
Either way, the song feels a bit more important this year – even more so than last year or 2004. Maybe it is because of the democratic sweep in the November elections. Maybe it is because I am much more aware and in tune with what is going on in the world. Maybe it is because of the direction my life has taken me these past 12 months.
Maybe it is because there is some hope for the first time in years that we truly will see some sort of real push toward accountability on the lies that led us to this point (note how the “I” word is “investigation” at this early point).
But each time I hear that song these past few weeks, the radio gets a bit louder and I start reflecting more and more – certainly as compared to prior years. The words, even though they were written nearly four decades ago, are just as poignant – just as powerful today.
And so this is Xmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
Even though I wasn’t born until nearly a year after that song was written, I became a huge Beatles fan in my early childhood. Obsessed, you might say (and not in the “1964 shrieking girl” kind of way). But by age 11, I knew all the words to probably over 100 of their songs, more than a few Wings and John Lennon songs as well. This one was one of my early favorites too. But I never really appreciated it as much as I have over the past few years until living through these times.
Times when torture, waterboarding, rendition, FISA, the IIPA, white phosphorus and “free speech zones” are terms that are known by and discussed all too casually by way too many people in this country. Times when xenophobia, fear and hatred are only matched by corruption, war crimes and criminal indifference to our own citizens when true homeland security is needed.
And so happy Xmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A time where our citizen’s right to vote is still suppressed and disenfranchised based on racial factors. When chest thumping and empty rhetoric like “bring em on” or “cut and run” or “fight em over there so we don’t have to fight em over here” are the norm, despite the fact that 3/4 - 4/5 of Americans believe that it is time to get serious and talk to Syria and Iran about the least horrible way to prevent the complete destruction of the Middle East.
A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
Let’s hope that we truly are turning the corner. The next year brings a Democratic Congress. It brings oversight (that one is for you, BTD if you are reading this). It brings investigations. It brings accountability. It brings sanity. It brings reason. It brings hope for minimum wage earners. It brings serious talk about picking America up off its ass and getting back towards a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”. Hopefully it brings an end to governing by fear.
War is over, if you want it
War is over now
Yes, John. I want it over.