There are some words that evoke special sentiments in the genera population, and speech-writers like to use them as they can to keep their audience feeling tuned-in to the speaker. Obviously, if the one speaking uses enough of the “right” words, the audience will lean more in that direction; and if it happens to be around election time, chances are the one saying the “right” words more, will get more votes.
There may be an actual list of such words somewhere, but chances are not everyone has access to it. And for those who do have access to it, they might not have gotten the instructions regarding how and when to use those words.
America, family or families, children, freedom and hope are just a few of those words. Outside of those words — plus “patriotic” and “Constitution” — many people consider “motherhood and apple pie” to be about as “American” as one can get.
But depending on who is saying the words and what state of affairs our country is in, maybe “The times, they are a’changin,’” the title of a song from the ‘60s, by Bob Dylan, can be resurrected to reflect how things were and still might be.
Songs of the day are often expressive of not only how the singer feels, but they can capture a picture of the times and the sentiments of many of the people living at the time. Back in ‘64, Bob Dylan released an album under the above title. That was over 50 years ago, and the words could still reflect “today”; 1776 was over 240 years ago and we still celebrate what transpired that year for its value and meaning to our lives now.
It could be rather educational to look up all the patriotic songs written for or about this country since the year 1776, but here is Dylan’s song about his viewpoint of things back in his day:
The Times They Are a-Changin’ Come gather ‘round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You’ll be drenched to the bone If your time to you Is worth savin’ Then you better start swimmin’ Or you’ll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin’.Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide The chance won’t come again And don’t speak too soon For the wheel’s still in spin And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’ For the loser now Will be later to win For the times they are a-changin’.
Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don’t stand in the doorway Don’t block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There’s a battle outside And it is ragin’ It’ll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don’t criticize What you can’t understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is Rapidly agin’ Please get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changin’.
The line it is drawn The curse it is cast The slow one now Will later be fast As the present now Will later be past The order is Rapidly fadin’ And the first one now Will later be last For the times they are a-changin’.
The Times, indeed, they are a-changin’. Who knows where we go from here! Our next president is going to have quite a presidential situation on his or her hands. While we get ready to celebrate a certain beginning of this unified country on the 4th of July, there are forebodings all over the Internet about certain endings that are waiting in the wings: The collapse or bankrupting of our monetary system as we know it, which of course includes our banking system… and so much more.
Heaven only knows how most of us will survive if such dire predictions and possible realities come true: It’s bad enough to be told that Social Security and Medicare will no longer be available to us in the foreseeable future as they are today, but to be “warned” that our own money won’t be available to us, whether in paychecks, direct deposits, or at the ATM for a withdrawal. And you don’t even have to search out the dire predictions online…they show up in one’s email, sometimes even overriding the email you were trying to read. Today it was Bill Bonner’s warnings to the country, if not the world.
When this country was young, there were many challenges and dire predictions; there were many naysayers and many living in fear of the future if this growing group of colonies would actually break away from Britain and declare their independence. And there were several other devastations that both divided and united the country. But there were also great men, leaders, who managed to pull us all together and create the documents that are still holding us together today. The Declaration of Independence was the promise; the Constitution was the fulfillment.
We would like to believe the colors of our flag meant something, and that they were not just plucked out of the blue with no regard for meaning. Well, they were chosen because of the flag of Britain, not because of blood, purity or courage; but after they were chosen, meanings were attributed to them From the Web: “On June 14, 1777 in Philadelphia, the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress adopted a resolution that read the following: ‘Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.’
“And with these words, the Stars and Stripes were born. Yet the resolution never said a word about the significance behind the choice of red, white and blue. And for good reason. The three colors did not have any official meaning when the flag was adopted in 1777.
“The colors and their significance still trace back to the birth of the country, and had very specific meanings in the creation of the Great Seal a year earlier. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution authorizing a committee to develop a seal for the
country. The committee was instructed to draw up a seal that reflected the Founding Fathers’ beliefs and values, as well as the sovereignty of the new nation. Red, white and blue were chosen, and the Great Seal was officially adopted on June 20, 1782.”
It was then, after the fact, that the colors took on their meaning. White signified purity and innocence. Red, hardiness and valour, and Blue… vigilance, perseverance and justice.”
Do we even think of such things? Or do we think only of the actual documents, preserved somewhere and hoping they’ll last at least another hundred years or so. That would be like putting all of one’s stock in the wedding certificate and ignoring the marriage.
“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”
— Alexander Hamilton
Whether we ever give a thought to the meaning of Red, White and Blue, may we never be too weak or afraid to persevere in the preservation of our freedom and justice for all.
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.