A Change is gonna come

I have thousands of songs in my Rock and Roll Riot library but the one that affects me the most, even when I listen to the (pre-recorded) airings is Sam Cooke’s stirring civil rights anthem, A Change is Gonna Come.

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Cooke wrote it in 1963 after he and his band members were turned away at a whites-only motel in Louisiana. The African American singer was also inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

I am a proud Canadian. Aside from the climate (why couldn’t they have divided North America down the middle instead of top and bottom?), and with all due respect to my American neighbours, I live in the greatest country in the world.

But….

I am also a citizen of the world. Sounds pretentious and maybe it is, but is a Canadian or American life more important than a German, Japanese, British or (you know this is coming) Syrian life?

No.

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To steal and adapt a line from American President Steve Bannon, Canada first? No, we are great because we welcome immigrants and always have done so. They made us great.

And yes, Bannon isn’t officially the president. Can’t recall the guy’s name but his daughter is hot. But Steve-o seems to be playing a major role in making America white again.

It used to be that left versus right, liberal/conservative or democrat/republican was a matter of politely disagreeing with the other side.

Today, amplified by social media, it’s I’m right, you’re wrong, fuck you.

I have voted liberal or NDP all my life but I also read the National Post and subscribe to MacLean’s magazine, both regarded as conservative. If they criticize Trudeau I am more than willing to read till the end.

Not just the headlines. On Facebook it’s “OMG, I can’t believe it!’

Of course you can’t. You haven’t read it, and know nothing beyond the clickbait likely created by someone who has never interviewed anyone and has zero credentials and limited knowledge.

But repost the nutjob rants and conspiracy theories. I’ll keep blocking them, even if it gives me carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sometimes the legitimate right wing media  are right. And correct. You’d have to be a total twit to swallow everything your party or leader of choice said or believed. You’d be a Stepford wife.

President Bannon has made the media the enemy. So have mind-controlled robots Spicer and Conway because they have been told to do so.

And yet…

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‘How many deaths will it take til he knows that too many have died? The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”

Online subscriptions to The Washington Post, The New York Times and many other newspapers have shot up dramatically because, despite what Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Man said, we can handle the truth.

We want the truth. We want facts. We want answers and accountability.

Without the much-maligned mainstream media Tricky Dick would have remained in office and who knows how many more alter boys would have been abused by priests (rent or download “Spotlight) had it not been for the Boston Globe and its investigative reporters?

In one of my favourite movies, “Inherit the Wind,” Gene Kelly’s E.K. Hornbeck (based on legendary journalist H.L. Mencken) says the media’s job is to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.

That summation is truer today than it has ever been.

And, in closing, lyrics from the great Sam Cooke.

“It’s been a long time comin’ but I know, a change gonna come, oh yes it will.”

 

 

 

About johnnymaraca

host of Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot, the rockingest show on the radio. 60 years of rockin' rhythm and blues, from the late '40s pioneers like Louis Jordan to Elvis, Chuck Berry, CCR, Stray Cats, Ramones and tons more. Friday and Saturday nights at 7 on 97.7 the Beach, listen live at http://977thebeach.ca, and WRSG in Middlebourne, West Virginia, Tuesdays 6-8 pm.
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