Merriott column: Back to the future verge of destruction
This has been a tough couple weeks for me. I always try to approach my life and the world optimistically. A good bit of this comes from my mantra of Faith, Family and Friends.
This week, though, I am fresh off delivering the eulogy for one of my closest friends of over 50 years and dealing with the end-of-life decision for my 13-year-old, one-eyed Golden, Miley, who can barely walk.
We had scheduled her to be put down last Monday, but she was so happy to see the Natural Vet that morning I simply could not do it. I think this has affected my optimism, so forgive me for what might seem to be a somewhat atypical outlook on our current state of affairs.
A couple of weeks ago, I heard a proverbial blast from the past, “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire. The song was recorded in 1965 and got me wondering. How did that moment in history compare to today a little over 50 years later when once again it seems we may be on the Eve of Destruction.
Anyhow, for you youngsters, I urge you to Google the song and contemplate the poignant lyrics.
One of the verses goes like this:
Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulating
I’m sitting here just contemplating
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulations
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
And marches alone can’t bring integration
When human respect is disintegrating.
This whole crazy world is just too frustrating
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend, Ah you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.
Seems to apply today, right?
Let’s recap. It’s 1965 and the first combat troops have arrived in Vietnam. A war that would eventually cost 58,152 American lives (We lost almost that many to opioid overdoses last year.)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has led a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The Rolling Stones had just released “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” I would be remiss if I did not mention that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated Nov. 22, 1963. In this general time frame of the ’60s for my Eve of Destruction comparison, let’s compare the period 1965-1969 with the rough time period 2015-2019, and we can draw our conclusions.
OK, major negatives of that era: Martin Luther King was assassinated April 4, 1968 and Robert Kennedy, Jr. followed in June 6, 1968 — both events crushing the hopes and dreams of millions.
This led to what was later referred to as a police riot in the streets of Chicago as the protests against the war in Vietnam reached critical mass. Charles Manson and his “family” carried out a mass murder of seven people in August of 1969 without guns (we have had three mass shootings in the last couple weeks that left 34 dead and dozens more wounded).
Make no mistake, these were turbulent times and to me as a 20-year-old, our country seemed to be coming apart at the seams
Here are the issues now that, to me at this time, indicate whether or not we are on an Eve of Destruction. They are in no particular order, but roughly to their seriousness to me.
• Health care
• National debt
• Wealth disparity and discrimination
• Gun violence
• Animal extinction
• Immigration reform and overpopulation
• Plastic Pollution — it is so much worse than I thought it was four years ago when I proposed that Carbondale Town Council ban single-use plastic bottles.
Climate Change — July was the hottest month in recorded history, and the Amazon Rain Forest is on fire.
Sure, we have been through worse — the Civil War, WWI and WWII — but thank God we had real leadership.
I read a statistic yesterday that said confidence in government before the JFK assassination was at 77%. Today it is at 17%. Our only hope with all these issues facing us is for a strong leader who can bring this confidence level back where it was when JFK was president. Otherwise, folks, I do think we are at the door of a real Eve of Destruction. We are waste deep in the big muddy, and the old fool is saying push on.
If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
BTW — we are running out of time to be a part of the solution.
Frosty Merriott is a CPA in Carbondale and former Carbondale Town Council member. He is a registered independent and considers himself a fiscal conservative but an original tree hugger from Louisiana. His column appears monthly in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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