Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

In the last several years, I've started to spend money politically. I changed my satellite company from DirecTV to DISH, I won't spend money at Walmart or Target or Walgreen's. I've been arguing against buying from China since before my son was born 23 years ago. I recently learned J. Jill buys clothes from the horrific Tom DeLay sweatshops in the Northern Marianas, and now I can't even walk into their store.

When the Dixie Chicks were trashed for exercising their free speech rights, I bought three of their CDs. Those CDs are still unopened, and my loss I know.

So when Neil Young brought out Living With War of course I bought that one too. And it has been sitting on my kitchen counter for a while. I've heard the Shock and Awe song on Air America several times; and the anger in the music and the lyrics is compatible with my own anger and disgust with the Bush crowd and every American who has ever voted for Bush without repentence.

This morning, after I put out my flag for Memorial Day and jumped into the car for the ride to Starbucks, I popped the Living With War CD into the player.

Omigod.

The title tune is nothing like I expected, and just reading the lyrics -- wonderful though they are -- is not enough. Opening with Young's fragile, weary-sounding statement --

I'm living with war everyday
I'm living with war in my heart everyday
I'm living with war right now


When he sings "living with war in my heart" it's not a proclamation but a diagnosis. This is our national disease: we are living with war in our hearts.

And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man
And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again
and when the night falls, I pray for peace
Try to remember peace


Is it mere nostalgia that makes me think this is brilliant? I do try to remember peace, but I suddenly wonder if it's in my experience to remember. Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Inflation, El Salvador, Grenada, Afghanistan, Gulf I, the War on Clinton, the 2000 election, Iraq, the "re-election" of George W Bush, Abu Gonzales and Fascism in America, the Cheney Coup.

try to remember peace

I join the multitudes
I raise my hand in peace
I never bow to the laws of the thought police


But I do bow to the laws of the thought police. Every day I try to live a normal life, pay my taxes, watch a favorite teevee show, scream at Chris Matthews, and go to bed without doing something about it, I bow to the thought police. Every day that George W Bush kills, he kills in my name.

I take a holy vow
To never to kill again
To never kill again


This is when I have to acknowledge I live in bondage. Slavery means living the will of another person. I can't take a holy vow to never kill again; George W Bush has usurped what the founding fathers called the will of the people. His will is our will, his will is my will. I am a slave to the Bush Administration which kills in my name, and I have no power.

I'm living with war in my heart
I'm living with war in my heart and my mind
I'm living with war right now

Don't take no tidal wave
Dont take no mass grave
Don't take no smokin' gun
To show how the west was won

But when the curtain falls,
I pray for peace
Try to remember peace


The song reminds me of a Lutheran hymn, sweet in its certainty that there is a god and a heaven. I'm guilty of the greatest sin: despair. I don't believe in the American People. I don't believe we will ever take the holy vow.

In the crowded streets In the big hotels
In the mosques and the doors of the old museum
I take a holy vow To never kill again
Try to remember peace

The rocket's red glare
Bombs bursting in air
Give proof through the night, That Our flag is still there
I'm living with war everyday
I'm living with war in my heart everyday
I'm living with war right now.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Followed your link from FDL. Good article. Thanks.

NickM

Quit Bloglin' Me said...

Hey there, other Linda. Partly based on your assessment of Living With War, I went out and bought it. It's pretty amazing, all right.

LindaLC