It’s been a year now for what we refer to as “The Pandemic”.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts and observations during the coronavirus event and as we slowly move ahead and, in the wake of mass vaccinations, some things have become clear to me.
First of all, the COVID-19 outbreak thrust some folks into the limelight that weren’t normally the center of attention.
As we start to return to pre-coronavirus conditions, it seems to me some of society’s “new stars” are reluctant to think that they not be the focus down the road.
Listen to who says, “Let’s not be hasty” or “Now is not the time to let our guard down” and I think you’ll find more often than not faces relatively new to the spotlight.
It hasn’t been all that long ago that our television screens were filled with those bright red graphs reporting death and infections throughout the land.
When’s the last time you witnessed a graph with brightly-colored peaks of numbers of vaccinations or decreasing infection rates?
It seems as though the media isn’t crazy reporting COVID-19 news if it’s not scary.
Again, just one man’s opinion.
I also observe much effort to continue to push the “hyphen-culture” in our country.
I’ve grumbled about this in previous blogs that it’s tough to profess unity in America when many are so intent in hyphenating who we are.
When did we cease simply being Americans?
There was a time we were referred to as the “melting pot”, meaning many different pieces and parts “cooked together” to become a wonderful stew.
But I sense some like to preach oneness while actively pursuing divisiveness.
It’s so hard to understand some when they speak from both sides of their mouths.
I’m also amused with the opinion that the race issue has never been worse.
Well, if you’re constantly told that by the media, you might actually start to believe that.
You see, it’s hard to sell that to a child of the 60’s as I was “back in the day”.
In those days when dinosaurs roamed the planet and the earth was still cooling, we were limited to three major news networks and black and white TV.
No 24 hour “news” channels, no Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, “Knick knack, paddy-wack, give a dog a bone” information sources.
It was only about 10 years ago that Bruce Springsteen lamented we had “57 Channels (And Nothing On)”.
It’s even worse today.
We also had news reporters in ancient times who did Jack Webb “Dragnet” news (Just the facts, Ma’am!”).
Paul Harvey, Edward R. Murrow come to mind.
Commentary was clearly delineated in those days as opposed to today when opinion and facts are stirred together and a less-than-discerning public swallows what they hear or see in a 15 second tidbit as the end-all source of information.
So, has more “information outlets” made us a better society today?
I don’t think so.
But also don’t think you and I are as bad as some would have us to believe we are.
That’s what’s wrong with my type.
I’m an optimist.
I would argue that the 60’s were as tumultuous a period of time as we’ve ever seen.
It was in the latter stages of that era that “Sly and the Family Stone” released two songs that I feel reflected the real mood in this country and still resonate today.
In late 1968, this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band released “Everyday People” and a year or so later, “Stand!” came out.
There was something brash, pulsing and raw about this group that grabbed my attention.
So much so that I dragged my soon-to-be-wife to a concert in Columbus, Ohio to see and hear Sylvester Stewart and his band of musical gypsies perform live at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium.
They sang about those days when “change” was the key word.
It was a time that society had “hippies”, “Black Panthers”, “bra and draft card burners” to name a few.
The music and lyrics of Sly and the Family Stone grabbed me.
I could feel the urgency of the message.
From their #1 hit, “Everyday People”
“I am no better and neither are you.
We are the same whatever we do.
You love me, you hate me, you know me and then.
Still can’t figure out the bag I’m in.
I am everyday people.
There is a long hair that doesn’t like the short hair
For being such a rich one, that will not help the poor one.
And different strokes for different folks.”
Then the title track from their 1969 album, “Stand!” still sticks with me today.
You’ve been sitting much too long. There’s a permanent crease in your right and wrong.
There’s a midget standing tall
And a giant beside him about to fall.”
We “Everyday People” in the 21st century need to take a “Stand!”
Sing it Sly!
They will try to make you crawl.
And they know what you’re saying makes sense and all.
Don’t you know that you are free?
Well, at least in your mind if you want to be.
Everybody, Stand! Stand!”
Just remember to wear your mask when you take a stand.
“Ooh. sha sha.
I am everyday people.”