Tuesday, December 8, 2009

29 years later, Lennon's words still hit their mark

by Chris Greenwood
It was outside this entrance to his apartment where John Lennon was shot and killed 29 years ago.
It was outside this entrance to his apartment where John Lennon was shot and killed 29 years ago.
Photo by David Shankbone.

As the United States said good by 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?


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