I am almost 44-years-old. The song “Eve of Destruction”, recorded by Barry McGuire in 1965, turns 44 in 2009, as well.
My boyfriend graduated high school in 1970 and served four years in Vietnam. The music that plays in our home is eclectic, to say the least. I’m a die-hard fan of classic rock, thrilled to have seen Alice Cooper for the first time in concert last summer with my grown children. Wolf Song has expanded my appreciations of Native American flute, Celtic harmonies and other world music, along with getting me to listen to songs from “his day” with a different ear. Together we enjoy classic country such as Marty Robbins and Patsy Cline as well as relative newcomers Big & Rich and Keith Urban.
This evening, while listening to “Eve of Destruction” on his iTunes, I heard some lyrics that perhaps I knew but didn’t really sink in.
“the Eastern world, it is exploding”
This line opens the song “Eve of Destruction”, written by P. F. Sloan. The fact that this lyric is as relevant today as it was 44 years ago is chilling.
My father was discharged from the United States Navy less than two months before I was born. I know my parents had to have heard this song. Did they wonder if this crazy world would ever be a safe place to raise their children?
My own son is 24 years old. He hasn’t lived a life that would convince the military to accept him voluntarily, but he would be considered “expendable” by draft standards. This beautifully talented artist would be on the firing lines, like so many creative minds during Vietnam.
“when human respect is disintegratin'”
I was very active in a local forum until mid-summer. I had friends and others who I just enjoyed being around and debating.
I left that forum when people who I considered to be relatively intelligent began to show their racist side as the Obama campaign heated up. I was amazed at the means professionals would sink to in order to make racially derogatory comments about a man who happened to be a Presidential candidate.
The election is over, Barack Obama is now President of the United States, and racism still flourishes throughout the country. Selma, AL, mentioned elsewhere in the lyrics, is still alive.
“hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace”
Last summer, in my home county, signs sprouted proclaiming “Keep the Bible, lose the kid” after a student’s family complained that a teacher had burned a cross on their son’s arm. The John Freshwater case is not about permitting a teacher to have a book of inspiration on his desk. This case is about insubordination, causing an injury to a student due to improper use of equipment and failure to follow educational standards.
There have been protests, threats of requesting “objectionable” books being removed from the school libraries and federal lawsuits filed. Neighbors are pitted against neighbors, differing religious sects are proclaiming their own brand of religion as the “only way” and a child has been labeled as anti-Christian in a community. The case still rages on.
Of course, I guess it depends on which “brand” of Christianity one believes in as to whether it’s acceptable to torment a child.
I wonder if P. F. Sloan is a descendant of Nostradamus. I’d hate to think this song is just a case of “everything old is new again”.