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You are here Editorials Jesse Richard's Commentary Which American Are You?

Which American Are You?

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A personal message from Jesse Richard.

I often say that comedians can identify all that is wrong with society while musicians sing about the solutions to society's problems. I say this because for my entire life I have been the class clown, and since my teens I have been a musician. So to me some of the problems of the world are so obvious that they are funny in a disturbing way, and sometimes I see clear solutions to at least some of the world's problems. Taking this into account you can understand why from time to time I point out the importance of some comedy routine or bring attention to the sage advice contained in some lyric.

Sadly, those of us who are long time connoisseurs of both comedy and music realize that the problems we face in our society are nothing new. We can see that they have only gotten worse. And for those of us who spend our lives trying to make things better... we can see how our obstacles have grown exponentially.

To me the biggest obstacle when it comes to "waking" my fellow human beings to the dire situation in which we are living, is clearly the establishment media. They media act as a perception management tool used by the people who make this world a terrible place. Those people make the wars, pollute the planet, poison our food supply, radiate us, spy on us, exploit us, take our wealth, and lie to us with every breath they take. That's just the tip of the iceberg, but you get my point.

Anyway, during a mental break I stumbled across an old 70's song that I had never heard before, by the band Chicago. At first I listened to it because of the beautiful vocals by the late Terry Kath and the brilliant Peter Cetera. But within a few minutes some of the lyrics caught my ear.

After listening to the song many times I decided to really pay attention to the lyrics. I had not done so as I really listened to the song simply for the melody and the voices, not necessarily the lyrics. But when I really listened to the lyrics I almost cried. I heard myself in this song. I heard my own desire to get other people to pay attention to what is taking place in this world. I heard my entire struggle to get my friends, family members and complete strangers to take notice of what is going on. But the thing that almost brought me to tears was my realization that this struggle has been going on for at least the age of the song least 40 years! And to think I am 44! People have been trying to wake up their fellow citizens for my entire life! And people are still not getting the message! How sad.

The song I speak of is called Dialogue, and it is actually a dialogue between the two singers. To me it is my dialogue with the other type of American: the type who lives in the pretend world created and maintained by the establishment media. The song serves as wonderful example of the struggle some of us face everyday as we try to bring truth to our fellow humans. The song shines a light on the many innocent ignorant people who have no interest in making things better as they feel safe in their pretend world. The song represents to me, the futile struggle to wake up my fellow citizens.

When the full meaning of the song hit me, I suddenly felt less lonely in my quest to reach out to others. But then again it also made me realize that my chances of succeeding to any significant degree are not very good. After all if all the people who probably heard that song had gotten it's message in the 70's I probably would not have needed to write this commentary.

With the exception of his last two lines I am American #1, which one are you? (See lyrics and video below.) Are you with me, or are you comfortably numb? Jesse Richard - Editor,


American 1: Are you optimistic about the way things are going?
American 2: No, I never ever think of it at all.

American 1: Don't it make you worry
American 1: When you see whats going down?

American 2: No, I try to mind my business, that is no business at all.

American 1: When it's time to function as a feeling human being
American 1: Will your bachelor of arts help you get by?

American 2: I hope to study further, a few more years or so
American 2: I also hope to keep a steady high

American 1: Will you try to change things?
American 1: Use the power that you have? The power of a million new ideas?

American 2: What is this power you speak of and this need for things to change?
American 2: I always thought that everything was fine. Nothing's on my mind.

American 1: Don't you feel repression just closing in around?
American 2: No, the campus here is very, very free.

American 1: Don't it make you angry the way war is dragging on?
American 2: Well, I hope your president knows what he's into, I don't know. Nixon I Don't know

American 1: Don't you ever see the starvation in the city where you live?
American 1: All the needless hunger all the needless pain?

American 2: I haven't been there lately, the country is so fine.
American 2: But my neighbors don't seem hungry cause they haven't got the time. Haven't got the time.

American 1: Thank you for the talk, you know you really eased my mind.
American 1: I was worried about the shape of things to come.

American 2: Well, if you had my outlook your feelings would be numb.
American 2: You'd always think that everything was fine, everything was fine.

We can make it happen
We can change the world now
We can save the children
We can make it better
We can make it happen
We can save the children
We can make it happen

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