Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Imagine

All these questions and answers making the rounds in Journal Land… I’m going to answer one that nobody has asked: What song do you think best expresses your personal philosphy?

This song has been in the back of my mind for much of my adult life. Years ago, I was a starry-eyed, steadfast member of a Pentecostal church. As time went on, though, I became aware of the fact that the Christian right was NOT all about God. Much of its time and energy were invested in beating "the other side" over the head with their interpretation of religion. Not just the godless unsaved, but other brands of Christianity that they felt did not follow the correct path (theirs) to salvation. I wanted to love God, but ultimately, I knew I didn’t belong among a bunch of people who used what they felt was THEIR special relationship with the Almighty, to belittle, threaten, and sometimes take violent action (abortion clinic bombings) against those who did not believe as they did. And so, the words of Lennon’s song began to play in the back of my mind…increasingly loudly as the Christian right became more powerful, more vocal and more violent. Imagine there's no heaven...It's easy if you try; No hell below us, Above us only sky. Imagine all the people Living for today...

Recently, the tune has become even louder. What a mess the world is in now! The entire Middle East is an explosion waiting to happen. Half the African continent is involved in civil war or genocide. The Balkans crackle with barely concealed violence. India and Pakistan are constantly on the verge of coming to nuclear blows. North Korea is rattling its saber. Central America has roaming bands of rebels who annihilate entire villages full of peasants. Name a corner of the world, and there are people killing each other for political gain.

And the United States of America, arguably the most powerful nation in the world, which has the power to be a HUGE source of good, to promote peace and understanding (notice I didn’t say "democracy") in the world…chooses NOT to. Instead, reeling from an unprovoked attack on our own soil, we take up our guns and bombs and go wading into the general area of the world from which we believe our attackers sprang, and start killing people. In light of our complete inability to uncover the WMD we claimed we were going after, there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was purely an act of revenge (I won’t go into the other possible political rationale behind it…). "An eye for an eye." There are those who STILL argue that the attack was justified, if for no other reason than to demonstrate to the rest of the world that you’d better not even think of messing with the United States. Really? What does such an act of revenge produce? Does it produce peace? Or just a higher stack of dead bodies?

While everyone around me was donning their red, white and blue garb, waving the stars and stripes from every possible orifice, banning French fries, belting out "I’m Proud to be an American" at every public gathering of more that five people…Lennon’s song played a little louder in my head: 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...

I love my country. I love the sheer, beautiful expanse of it. I love the history of our long and difficult climb toward guaranteeing freedom and dignity for EVERY citizen. I love it when we try to inspire the rest of the world to value human life. I love it when we open our doors and embrace "the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free…" I love the great men and women our country has produced. I love the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, crafted with such care and diligence by some of the greatest minds this world has ever known.

But I can’t condone using our flag as a weapon to bludgeon the rest of the world into compliance with our beliefs. I can’t rally behind it when it is used as a standard to lead our young men and women into a war tainted with race hatred and the lust for revenge. I don’t believe that is what "patriotism" is about; but if it IS, I want no part of it. In that case, the world would be a better place with NO countries. NO boundaries. NO flags. Imagine all the people Sharing all the world... You may say I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one… I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one.

 

14 comments:

  1. I love John Lennon & I love this song....I agree with this entry completely.

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  2. Robbie has this song posted in her journal today too.  I love this. I pray for peace every day.  I hope that some day it will become a reality...

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  3. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. #1, for taking the right stance #2, for making John Lennon's words come to life again.  #3 for pointing out that we have a responsibility to the planet to set an example.  Blind patriotism is as ignorant as blind faith.  
    I posted a flag image (from yet another hippie--in my haiku blog) Monday, for Flag Day.  Flag Day was designed to pay homage to the symbol of our country.  A day set aside for retoring tattered stars and stripes, by the way.  For taking care of the symbol of our country.  And that means making it  conscionable again.
    amen.

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  4. If peace and freedom were only that simple.... Kristi

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  5. Well........

          Hum.  Wow.  

    Passion......

    I have to ring in with the thoughts that your stance here is right.  And, I have to add that God is not about revenge, anger, hate or even liberty....I think John knew this.  God IS love.  God is not religion.


    (but you knew I'd ring in on this subject.)

    Now I'm gonna have to think about a song for me.

    xxoo

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  6. I totally agree with you. If you practice the philosophy of an eye for an eye pretty soon everyone is blind! That was a quote I had in my journal a while ago. I would have to say Imagine, and Give Peace a Chance both express my philosphy Hmmmmm both John Lennon songs interesting Huh?

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  7. Very powerful Lisa! I got goose bumps reading this. There's nothing to argue with here. The only question I might raise and that's because it was my first response when 9/11 occurred: What did we do to cause this? Honestly, I don't think we were without blame. We may not have provoked them but our warped foreign policies were a catalyst for their horrid actions. We were the ones who trained the Taliban in our fight to save the world from Communism. We were involved in Beirut. We are the ones supporting Israel as it encroaches upon the Palestinians and its neighbors. We are a threatening presence in the Middle East. Unfortunately, radical *religious* people took it to the extreme to make their point. Were this several hundred years ago, the British would have considered some of our doings terroristic in order to free ourselves from being ruled without representation. Like you, I too think of this song and wonder why it can't be so. Why is it that people revert to bloodshed in order to force their ideology, politics, philosopy, belief system, what-ever you want to call it, on someone else? So, I'd like to "Imagine" a world without boundaries. And, I'm glad Im not the only one. Imagine that. :-) ---Robbie

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  8. Oh I forgot to answer what song best expresses my personal philosophy...I'd have to say it would be "Bat out of Hell" by Meatloaf.  ;-p ---Robbie

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  9. Hi Lisa,

    What a thought provoking entry!! I Completely, love the song Imagine by John Lennon {such a profound song} one of the best songs ever.
    The conflicts in this world are so heartbreaking. There was a Qustion  somewhere, that asked : Do you believe most Wars started because of Religious conflicts? and i agree, so many have {it's too bad, the powerful words in the song Imagine , have yet to be realized}. ~Nikki~

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  10. hestiahomeschoolJune 17, 2004 at 1:17 AM

    What a perfect entry.  I agree with you one hundred percent.  I'll have to think of a song for me...I am truly a weird person, so it will take awhile...but I told my children years ago that I wanted this song played at my funeral.
    lots of love, Kas

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  11. Wonderful! I completely agree with the assessment of the Christian Right... They are neither right, nor Christian!

    I also love John Lennon and this song in particular. Its idealism and hope is lovely.

    Lisa
    http://journals.aol.com/eviltwin13/Title13

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  12. Oh, you picked a great song, Lisa!  I also enjoy hearing how your opinions have changed over the years.  So many are stuck in a particular mind-set, such as the Christian right you talk about, and they're too proud to consider an alternative way of viewing the world.  Or even if they do, too proud to talk about how they used to be different!  But, you...  you make me think we can all change if we want.

    And I'd never think of a solitary song that expressed my personal philosophy! lol  There are bits and pieces of dozens of songs over the years...

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  13. Great song!  Great enry!  Thank you for sharing!  Big AMEN!

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  14. Very interesting entry.  I can't say I agree or disagree completely with you.  All I can say is that this world has been fighting with itself (in every part) since the beginning of time.  Unfortunately, we are not going to change that.  Not with our religion, not with our military, not with love, not with a flag (from any nation) and certainly not by looking through rose colored glasses as John Lennon did when he wrote that song.  Life is what it is, and we aren't going to change the ideas of the men in the Middle East, Africa, Central America, Asia or North America.  They seem to be all hell bent on killing one another.  I still am on the side of democracy though and the red, white and blue!

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