Where were you for JFK?
On Friday Nov 22, 1963 my father’s plane touched down in Dallas, TX en route to San Antonio, TX via Pittsburgh. He was on his way to build a better life, like so many of that day, thru enlisted service. He was going to basic training and he would also and up visiting The Alamo. As they were taxiing and taking off the pilot announced that the President had been shot. JFK had been assassinated and like the odd Hitchcockian movie, my Father would land in a different world that the one he took off from. 5 years later, John’s brother Robert and Martin Luther King would also be assassinated. These events would chart our culture on a course vastly different from the vision these great ‘thinkers’ had envisioned. As my Dad said for one, ” The military certainly got a lot bigger after that ” and in a very visible way.
What would the world look like had these lights been allowed to shine on? Why is it so hard for today’s leaders to effect real change for society? Why have we allowed a system to evolve that stagnates all long term sustainable change for short term gain? Where is the feedback loop? Isn’t this in a sense, what the thought leaders of the 60’s and 70’s were talking about? Keep in mind, there were millions of poets, artist, teachers, scientists, thinkers, and artisans that believed in these men and that music, community, good conversation, and sustainable ways of life and growth were superior to an unrelenting quest for growth and money. These were smart people who wanted a better, honest, and more fulfilling life for their country and the world. Those words hadn’t yet been hollowed out but until you study that time, you can’t see how crucial of a moment it was in the epic battle between long term thinkers (participants in the universe I’ll call them) and short term materialism. In the last 25 years, the latter has shaped our society, in the process destroying our education systems, and perverting the real value of technological innovation in favor of boring effective consumers. The media crosshairs are trained and powerful against positive change. Where are the great thinkers and leaders of today? And do they have a shot in today’s over stimulated, consumption crazed, society. It became apparent to me, in our evolution, looking at the 60’s and 70’s was more than just a time for great music and conversation. It was great, profound, etc,. because SO MUCH was on the line. If we as smart, thinking people study it maybe we can redirect the course a little bit.
In October 2010, I had written down the words “Where were you for JFK?, Where were you for MLK?”. I wrote these questions in song but with the intention of asking them to people who had lived thru these world shaping events? Some months later, Ray and I collaborated to bring the yet unrecorded ‘Superheros’ to existence. ‘They’re not Superheroes, they’re just men like me and you’ being the mantra for these ordinary men who spoke their minds and stood up for what they believed. They certainly weren’t perfect men but they were men whose lives burned with passion and belief, who stood against the flow of concentrated power, bias, and secrecy. We all have the ability to speak up for what we believe to be right. We also have the duty to ask, ‘What path are we on?’