September 26th marked the 50th anniversary of the album Abbey Road, by the Beatles. If you remember the release back in 1969, you already know how old that makes you feel. Every generation has its share of good songs and forgettable ones. 50 years is a pretty good test of time to determine whether the band and its songs are classics, or belong in the dust bin. This album stands the test of time. The 1960s were a tumultuous time for those that remember, and for those who were there, but don’t remember.
Come Together: There’s an old saying, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” Protestors, hippies, mistrust of the government and people thinking the country is going down the toilet was common in 1969. That doesn’t seem too different compared to today, except the names and faces have changed. What’s different is that the internet and social media have forever changed the way news, opinion and information is communicated. B-list actress Debra Messing got some press for praising a church sign that read, “A black vote for Trump is mental illness. A white vote for Trump is pure racism”. I thought the liberal press and the Hollywood crowd hated George W. Bush during the Iraq War, but they have taken it to new levels with President Trump. The polarization is so intense that there is no tolerance for opposing points of view and any Trump supporter is assumed to be a bad person or has something wrong with them. Such broad and generic statements are not only insulting and inaccurate, but they do absolutely nothing to solve any of the nations problems. If you think Trump supporters either have a mental illness or are evil racists, there is no reason to continue the conversation, is there? How do you solve problems with that kind of attitude? You don’t. Your only goal is to eliminate the other side by any means necessary. With the 2020 election coming up, expect things to get worse, not better. The idea of “Coming Together” seems as distant as 1969.
Golden Slumbers: “Once there was a way to get back home. Smiles awake you when you rise.” This song can be comforting and sad at the same time. If there is a way back home, the implication is that maybe you’ve strayed too far. “Home” is supposed to be a safe place, filled with love, stability and family. But not everyone has a great home. Ask any police officer, and they will tell you that most criminals didn’t have a great home life growing up. That’s certainly not an excuse to break the law, but it does help make the case that strengthening the family avoids problems for the kids down the road. No family is perfect, but the best home life is one where children are the result of a loving marriage and have good male and female role models. It solves 90% of the world’s problem, but few politicians seem to recognize or promote the obvious benefits of the traditional nuclear family. They’ve let us down, again.
Carry That Weight: Burdens; the weight of the world. We’ve all felt it from time to time. I believe that that the frequency of multiple shootings has everything to do with the mental state of mind and nothing to do with the existence of so-called “assault weapons”. There were plenty of guns 50 years ago, without background checks, yet mass shooting were extremely rare in 1969. We don’t have a gun problem; we have a people problem. The simple truth is that happy people don’t kill other people. Most depression doesn’t lead to violence, but there is a certain state of mind that is common with most of the mass shootings. They are mostly male young loners, unmarried, unhappy and probably feel like they have nothing to lose. They don’t have a sense of community, have lost all hope and don’t value life. When the population embraces a culture of death, this is one of the outcomes. The church traditionally provided moral guidance, a sense of belonging, purpose and community. The new Pew Research poll shows that young people value religion less than previous generations, which coincides with the overall population’s decreasing church attendance. This isn’t good for society. I think they are missing out. One of the huge benefits of having a relationship with Jesus is the comfort and strength of knowing that you are never alone. You don’t have to carry that weight by yourself. Cynics and people who have fallen away from church tend to forget that
Here Comes the Sun: Perhaps people just need hope and a belief that they will make it through their problems. We all long to be reassured that it will all be OK. But who will make such a reassurance? The one who helps carry your weight. “Here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right .” What a nice upbeat song that just makes you smile.
The End: Many say that the path to happiness starts with giving of yourself, and it is better to give than to receive. I think the more good works you do results in far more unexpected rewards, but I’ll let the Fab Four have the last word: And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.