A wise poet and songwriter once said, “Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’
Bob Dylan, the voice of the counter culture in the 1960s, led the way for non violent revolution through poetry and song, fiercely fighting the status quo. And this week, at age seventy (70), Mr. Dylan, along with Bruce Springsteen were not only not fighting the President, but were his opening act in battleground states.
The times they are a changin.
While America was once the country of the older white guy running everything from the country to the cornfields, in 2012, America is the country she was designed to be by the founding fathers and mothers. Diverse.
For some reason, that frightens many Americans. Indeed, about half of them if the Presidential election numbers are an indication. But, the times they are a changin.
When Bob Dylan wrote this song in 1963, the civil rights act of 1964 was not expected to pass.
But it did pass, and with the passing came a slow movement to equality for all. The white man, almost always in positions of power, didn’t want the change, and today we often hear them lamenting about ‘the good old days’ when they were growing up in the 1950s.
The thing is, the good old days weren’t always so good. While one can remain blissfully ignorant and relish in late night reruns of ‘Father Knows Best,’ Bonanza,’ punching the clock in a job a white man could count on working until he dropped dead, a lovely wife by age 25, who had dinner on the table by 6 PM every night, all the while smiling in her high heels and high hairdo, 2 kids by age 30 and a dog, it wasn’t so good for everyone else.
Women were ‘sluts’ if they enjoyed sex, especially before marriage, and ‘spinsters’ if they weren’t married by age 35. African Americans were called ‘n*ggers,’ Hispanics were ‘spiks,’ gays were ‘fags,’ and white men were the only ones who could hold this country together.
In the late 50s and early 60s, music was one of the strongest catalysts for change, though truthfully, white pop singers stole that music from the black man, so once again inequality reigned supreme.
Then, leaders like Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, Medger Evers, Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gloria Steinem and others emerged, and along with the music of the time, the average white guy was becoming more and more superfluous, as minorities slowly progressed at a snails pace, mainly due to the men running the country. Indeed, it was inconceivable that a man of color named ‘Barack’ would ever become President, much less for two terms.
But the times they are a changin.
On election eve as CNN was slowly calling Pennsylvania for the President, Ohio, Florida and more, the anticipation of a second term was all but a reality due to the math. Mitt Romney simply was running out of ways to get 270 electoral votes. Then, at 11:18 EST, it happened again. President Obama won a second term, largely due to double digit support from Hispanic voters, women voters, African American voters. Oh, and some 50 something white guys sprinkled in for color; literally and figuratively.
And in the midst of the horrible storm on the East Coast, I think saw the Statue of Liberty smile for the first time since she was given to America from France.
Indeed, the times have changed.