Friday, April 15, 2005

War Songs For Bush

"It's time to stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look what's goin' down." Buffalo Springfield

I opened The Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday and was hit by a wall of faces. Under the headline Killed in the Line of Duty, a numbing three full pages of photos brought the war in Iraq crashing into my home with renewed force.

Here's what the paper said:
The names of 222 U.S. military personnel have been added to the Iraqi war toll since The Inquirer last published the record Dec. 28. While U.S. losses have slowed, this installment includes 31 from a helicopter crash in a Jan. 26 sandstorm. The Inquirer has published victims' names and photos regularly since April 2003. At least 1,546 Americans have died.
The photo display, looking eerily like a school yearbook, was arranged by date of death. In a chilling coincidence, the first date, Dec. 27, is my son's birthday. He's 21 and still in college, thank God. But if we don't get out of this war soon, and the draft is reinstated ... the possibly is too dreadful to contemplate.

Yet the sights and sounds of the war in Iraq seem to have faded from the public mind. Instead we've been pounded by relentless refrains on the deaths of Terri Schaivo and the Pope -- a hopelessly brain damaged woman and a diseased-ridden 84 year old man. One can only imagine how bizarre and trivial that must seem to a family whose son or daughter or father or wife has been killed in Iraq.

But the killing and dying continues as this travesty of political and economic greed rolls along unchecked. And what else is in the news? The songs George Bush is listening to on his iPod.

I'd like to suggest a few tunes for him.

Listen to Beth Nielsen Chapman singing Sand and Water. Especially this:

All alone I heal this heart of sorrow.
All alone I raise this child.
Flesh and bone, he's just bursting toward tomorrow,
and his laughter fills my life and wears your smile.

Listen to Jeff Buckley sing the haunting Hallelujah.

Listen to Elton John's Daniel.

And without fail, listen to Buffalo Springfield sing For What It's Worth. Then listen to it again.

Oh yes, one more thing: get the CD soundtrack of Woodstock and listen to Joan Baez sing, accapella, Amazing Grace.

Try to grok the supreme irony. Sadly, you won't have a clue. And you will never attain that level of grace.

Other song ideas for George W to stick in his ...iPod... welcome.



Blogger The Informalist said...

But sadly you won't have a clue. And you will never attain that level of grace.

I'm no supporter of Bush and actually deplore many of his policies, but who are we to judge another person's relationship with the divine? To quote from a book The Christian writer Bede Griffiths wrote in his book Christ in India; essays towards a Hindu-Christian dialogue that: "No one can ever judge in any man what the fundamental movement of his soul is."

Besides, the idea of grace as something that one can attain seems to negate the whole idea of grace itself --- that in spite our imperfections and flaws, a Higher Power of Compassion and Wisdom is continually working to draw us towards it.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

Sorry if you were offended by the grace comment. My intent is to engage, not offend. But I am enraged by this decidedly unholy war. Were you at all engaged by that? If so, do you have any songs to suggest?

10:00 AM  
Blogger The Informalist said...

I wasn't offended at all and am appreciative of the idea of making intellectual engagment. Its just that I am somewhat skeptical of demonizing people and seeing public figures like George Bush Jr as some kind of Big Brother bogeyman and the embodiment of all that is wrong and "unholy". This is not to whitewash their mistakes or to endorse their wrongdoing, but to recognize their humanity. I've noticed that Bush never depicts Saddam in human terms. He (perhaps unconsciously) dehumanizes his enemy by describing Saddam as "a madman" or "a dictator". Shall we then be imitate Bush in this aspect?

And then there's the idea of grace. My understanding of grace is that it provides for the possibility of even the most henious sinner and that there is no one who cannot be redeemed. This is admittedly hard to hold on to at times, especially when I look at my flawed existence...

12:03 PM  

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