- Politics and Social Issues
Socially Responsible Music of the 80's is Still Relevant Today
It's funny how one of those profound thoughts will jump out at you from nowhere. You know the type. It happens when you're doing something you've done for centuries and suddenly it's like you're doing it for the first time. Well, it's happened to me again.
Late last night, I was taking a break from my Hubpages addiction. I peeked into my Netflix queue, looking for something light to watch. My choice for the evening was a documentary on one of my favorite musicians from back in my younger days. He was a favorite then because his lyrics told stories and, because he was an activist for the environment and American Indians. You have probably guessed that it was Jackson Browne.
Who Is Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne has been writing and performing since the mid 60's. He has sold over 17 million albums and written songs for dozens of other musicians. He is a storyteller, an accomplished producer, talented performed and a political activist.
He is a co-founder of
He is a fighter for human rights, arts education, and the environment. He is a recipient of the Duke University LEAF award for Lifetime Environmental Achievement in Fine Arts and the John Steinbeck Award for his work on environmental and social issues. Jackson Browne cares and is doing something, not just talking about it.
Back to the Present
Those of you who know me at all, know that I care about our country and our environment and, I think we are on a pathway of destruction for both. I have lost all confidence that "we, the people" have a fair representation in Washington. I am concerned that we continue to send our brave men and women to fight wars for people who won't fight for themselves. I am worried that the greedy of our world are spending our money and saving theirs. And, I know that our policy makers will say anything to win a race and do nothing once they've won it. Is it any wonder that I was looking for an escape last night and chose a documentary on music rather than watching the news?
After thoroughly enjoying the music and interviews for almost an hour, Jackson Browne began to play a song that I remembered. I couldn't remember what album it was on but I knew it was an older song and that it had spoken to me when I first heard it years ago. It was a song about the political climate in our country and it easily could have been written this week. It was just that relevant. I'll share the lyric with you and I think you'll agree.
"Lives In The Balance" - Jackson Browne
"I've been waiting for something to happen, for a week or a month or a year
with the blood in the ink of the headlines, and the sound of the crowd in my ear.
You might ask what it takes to remember, when you know that you've seen it before,
where a government lies to a people and a country is drifting to war.
And there's a shadow on the faces of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places where their business interest runs.
On the radio talk shows and the TV you hear one thing again and again,
how the USA. stands for freedom and we come to the aid of a friend.
But who are the ones that we call our friends - these governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more and they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone.
There are lives in the balance, there are people under fire.
There are children at the cannons and there is blood on the wire.
There's a shadow on the faces of the men who fan the flames,
of the wars that are fought in places where we can't even say the names.
They sell us the president the same way they sell us our clothes and our cars.
They sell us every thing from youth to religion, the same time they sell us our wars.
I want to know who the men in the shadows are. I want to hear somebody asking them why.
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are but they're never the ones to fight or to die.
And there are lives in the balance. There are people under fire.
There are children at the cannons and there is blood on the wire."
- Jackson Browne, 1986
Did you notice the date? That's right, the song "Lives In the Balance" was written in 1986. Not much has changed since 1986, has it?
Is it just coincidence that the lyric is so relevant today as we watch our television screens erupt in violence in Cairo, Libya, Syria, and wonder - will we send our troops again, to fight another war for people who refuse to govern themselves? Have we learned nothing?
Can we dispute that history will repeat itself until there is a conscious change in the attitude of the policy makers. According to the Department of Defense statistics, over 6000 men and women have died fighting in the middle east since 2003. How many more have to die? And I wonder...are we fighting for our freedom or for the price of a barrel of oil?
© 2012 Linda Crist
Watch the video, hear the words, feel the concern
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What Inspired This Writing?
- A Prayer for the Living
With so much hatred and violence in the world, this is my prayer for the living.