“They Come… They Come… To Build A Wall Between Us”

 

A little over three decades ago, Neil Finn, founder/frontman of the Australian band Crowded House and composer of their debut album’s track, Don’t Dream It’s Over, musically mesmerized his fans, worldwide, when he hooked us with his haunting, sadness tinged storyline, emotionally driven vocals and stripped down to the bare essentials instrumentation.

While creative sequencing of treble and bass clef notes, time and key signatures and instrumentation do play a significant role, a peerless singer/songwriter/musician, such as Finn, fully knows that a song’s even greater appeal stems from crafting cleverly worded, timely, timeless sentiments, which tap into universal human experiences.

Let’s let the music now speak for itself…

Originally I had planned to include my own interpretation of Finn’s lyrics1 but quickly nixed that notion. My rationale…

  1. You can read such essays elsewhere.
  2. Upon re-listening to this song with our present-day ears… WITHIN politically perilous and tempestuous times spanning our entire spinning out of control world… WITHOUT the benefit of functional, sane leadership to face down and correct these serious problems… a whole new meaning arises from this song, in particular, the chorus…

“They come, they come… To build a wall between us…”

I cannot speak for everyone, but each time these particular ten words play out, I can foresee “the end of the road”… the road, which humanity has been travelling upon for multiple millions of years. I cannot help but wonder, will our road, someday (soon) be blocked by WW-III’s billions of burnt beyond recognition, irradiated corpses and mega-tonnage of rubble?

I’ll now graciously yield my blogger’s podium to Pope Francis who I wish, with all my heart, would speak for everyone on this issue…

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be – and not building bridges – is not Christian.”

To build upon the pontiff’s strong foundation…

  1. Are not ill-mannered, ill-informed, ill-advised, soulless world leaders, who so pointlessly, persistently dehumanize benevolent folks based solely on ethnicity, infirmity, religious beliefs and sexual orientation needlessly building a wall between us?
  2. Is it not the intent of the world’s malevolent entities… those who mindlessly terrorize, maim and slaughter (on behalf of their alleged god)… to divide and conquer us… i.e., by also building a wall between us?

The problem with walls is how they actually fail to insulate us from harm and, indeed, do harm when they isolate us. When everyone gets trapped on each side of the architecture, each side of the argument is doomed to remain unresolved… preserved thru perpetuity.

When viewed in this manner, just how would we then interpret Don’t Dream It’s Over?

I suppose that’s where the power of punctuation enters the picture. In this case, it all boils down to whether or not we opt to bisect Finn’s four worded song title (and recurring lyric) with a comma.

An optimist would eschew such punctuation… in effect saying…

”Please don’t ever dream that our dream for a civil, wall-free world is over.”

A pessimist would commit to that comma… in effect drastically changing the meaning to…

“Don’t dream, IT’S ALL OVER! Who needs stinkin’ bridges when we can get nasty and piss away billions of bucks to build that utterly useless, sky-high wall!”

Getting back on the musical track, conventional wisdom suggests that songsmith Neil Finn’s masterpiece should remain inviolate… YET… I cannot help but wonder… had he written Don’t Dream It’s Over, today… six months after the grotesque regime change within Washington DC… what verses would he have built around his chorus…

“They come, they come… To build a wall between us…”?

And would he even be realistic were he to reach the same conclusion he did back in 1986… when he had so resolutely proclaimed…

“We know that they won’t win!”

 

Latanya Lockett & Pablo West ~ Don’t Dream It’s Over (acoustic cover)

 

1Complete Lyrics:

 

Don’t Dream It’s Over

Composed by Neil Finn

 

 

There is freedom within

There is freedom without

Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup

There’s a battle ahead

Many battles are lost

But you’ll never see the end of the road

While you’re traveling with me

 

[CHORUS] Hey now, hey now

Don’t dream it’s over

Hey now, hey now

When the world comes in

They come, they come

To build a wall between us

We know that they won’t win

 

Now I’m towing my car

There’s a hole in the roof

My possessions are causing me suspicion

but there’s no proof

In the paper today

Tales of war and of waste

But you turn right over to the T.V. page

 

[CHORUS]

 

Now I’m walking again

To the beat of a drum

And I’m counting the steps

To the door of your heart

Only shadows ahead

Barely clearing the roof

Get to know the feeling of

Liberation and release

 

[CHORUS] Hey now, hey now

Don’t dream it’s over

Hey now, hey now

When the world comes in

They come, they come

To build a wall between us

We know that they won’t win

 

Go-Green-Lean-Clean: A Reader Participation Blog

Welcome to Earth Day 2016. My question to all WordPress readers:

What are you doing to prevent Earth from becoming an ecological disaster area?

My comment box awaits your replies.

While you are typing away (input, here, is totally optional) if you have specific info to show that what you are doing is making a difference, include that, too.

ADDENDUM: Saturday, April 23, 2016 9:23 a.m. ~ Since every day should be Earth Day, I still am interested in your comments… be your posting them to tell us about the ways you Go-Green-Lean-Clean in your day-to-day lives OR to discuss, in general, any other issues of the environment important to you/ to us all.

PS… my thanks to all who have already commented and clicked my “Like Star”.

To get the comments rolling…

Here are a few of my Go-Green-Lean-Clean ideas:

1. I only plug in my laptop and printer when I’m using them… this saves 365 kilowatt hours annually. Compared to my past usage… it’s as if my power company is now billing me only for 10 months each year. For even greater kWh savings I also unplug audio / video gear when not in use.

2. I recently had more insulation blown into my attic and have installed energy efficient windows and entrance doors. The reduction in my monthly electric/gas bills has been dramatic.

3. In the winter, I keep my furnace’s thermostat set at 62 degrees by day / 55 by night. Staying warm is not tough… that’s what long johns, bulky sweaters and extra blankets are for. In the summertime, I’ve totally stopped using AC.

4. With my insulation backed curtains drawn shut, this keeps heat in when I need it / out when I don’t. And since nobody can see inside, during summer it’s clothing optional (OK… that last tidbit probably was a bit more than you needed to know… but… hey… LOL… it’s all going towards the Go-Green-Lean-Clean greater good.

5. Rather than drive… I power walk to nearly all my local destinations (yes… fully clothed). This not only saves gasoline but is great exercise. Btw… I only have 40,000 miles on my car, which I’ve owned for 17 years.

Well, it’s now your turn…

I’d love to hear about your own Go-Green-Lean-Clean ideas. The goal, here, is for us to make this list as long as possible. My comment box is standing by…

Oh… btw… even if you’re not adding to the list… per se… I still welcome your comments / observations…

The Church Left Me… Disillusioned

Lately… frequently… well intentioned, good people, who I deeply respect, have been reminding me it’s time to get religion back into my life… even after I’ve assured them that… while I’m no longer a churchgoer… I’ve NEVER lost my faith in God.

To be sure here… my already strong faith had grown even more so during the early years of our new millennium. At life’s fork in the road… I had experienced some eye-opening incidents, where I believe I had been an eyewitness to Divine Intervention… and… as a result… had been spared much anguish.

Yet, even after factoring all that in, I still don’t feel a need to rejoin the flock… and no getting around this… I did “stray”… so long ago… while I was still just a kid. So, just how, pray tell, does someone, so young, wind up leaving his church permanently?

Well… to answer that, I’m reposting an excerpt from my old MySpace blog. I’ve since polished / freshened it up a bit… but in essence this is what hit the www back on Monday, July 17, 2006…

I was raised a Catholic and attended mass at St. Andrew’s on a regular basis up till the age of 10 (or thereabouts). The way I remember those Sundays, church services were the venue for the frivolous and foolish to show off their just off the showroom floor, upscale, shiny muscle cars and be decked out in all their “Sunday best” finery.

While still in the parking lot… the men were almost at the point of popping open the hoods to show off their engines, while the women were squinting to scope out the (“oops… I forgot to remove) price tags from their dresses and fur coats.

What all this crass materialism had to do with Godliness… I’ll never know.

Once our congregation did settle down in the pews, it was “show time”. Of course, the mass, spoken in Latin, didn’t help matters much, either. It all sounded like gibberish to me. And… for all the good the Priest’s sermons seemed to be doing… to make better people out of the aforementioned “fashion models” and “car buffs”… well… long sigh… he needn’t even have switched over to English.

If the private lives of these shallow Halles and Hals were anything like what their public images projected, I suspect a goodly percentage of them were living out their Monday through Saturday existences doing whatever they damn well pleased. What did they have to lose when all they needed to do was “faithfully” show up each and every Sunday to receive their absolution? Of course, in turn, that’d also reconfirm their well in advance, booked reservations for that “Heavenly” Hilton in the sky.

One could practically hear the Priest huckstering into a bullhorn (while the keyboardist played the circus calliope)… “Step right up, folks… it’s God’s five-step program to eternal salvation! 1. Live a life of depravity. 2. Hop into that dark confessional. 3. Boast about your sinful exploits. 4. Receive your penance. 5. Let that little “cookie” melt in your mouth… they’re baked by Keebler elves!”

At that point the Priest (channeling the Price is Right’s Johnny Olson) would beckon “C’mon Down!” to all who were seeking “Holy” Communion…

…that being the final cue to the organist and parishioners. Within seconds, the aisle leading down to the altar had become something more akin to a catwalk. Folks… get ready for this!

If this had all taken place… oh… say… about 13 years later, the organ player would’ve really let ‘er rip and the churchgoers would’ve been whipped up into a disco frenzy… really strutting their stuff / shakin’ their booty on their way down the aisle to “salvation”.

But… by then… the hour had groweth late. Once again, Sunday services were winding down. All that was left was the benediction followed by everyone bumpin’ and grindin’ out the doors.

Out in the parking lot, one could smell the raw gasoline and burnt rubber… hear the revving of the engines and squealing, screeching tires. At the drop of the flag THEY WERE OFF!!!

Cough! Cough! Wheeze… Hack-Hack-Hack!… Excuse me folks… that was one hell of a nasty cloud of burnt rubber and unburnt petrol! Well now… long sigh… welcome back to the present.

So… did I embellish my above-mentioned  boyhood experiences?

Yes… but not by much. In my defense… this cast of clownish church characters are the culprits who soured me on organized religion… and from my POV… that all puts their foul behavior in fair territory for me to field.

As I see it, it’s either my continuing to poke fun at them or my winding up in the funny farm. If I were to add anything else to my past blogged observations, it’d go like this.

I come from humble beginnings. So for me to have seen other Catholics shamelessly, collectively flaunting their elevated station in life had sent me home each Sunday feeling depressed re my impoverished life. Now… I ask…

A. Is not Mass supposed to elevate one’s spirits?

B. What respectable religion sends anyone home in an emotional, gray funk?

Additionally… my hat’s off to our current Pontiff, Pope Francis. He’s a man who’s been staying true to his own humble background. To that end / toward a new beginning, he’s been fumigating the stuffy, musty stagnancy, which permeates the Catholic Church. He finds his church’s irreverent, irrelevant, rot from the top down, gold-plated, stain-glassed imagery just as repugnant and off-putting as I do.

Folks, I am prepared to recant all the negative stuff, which I’ve said above, and promptly send this blog to the trash on the day where I find a parish where mass is held in an austere locale… oh… say… within a log cabin-like structure… perhaps even in the clearing of a dense forest during Michigan’s warmer months. Services where Golden Rule focused sermons emphasize how we can all work towards the betterment of our vast global community… roll up our sleeves and pitch in to make the dawn of each new day a bit brighter for those who are having a rough time… and… both want and need our helping hand.

I don’t believe my maker would ever plunge me into eternal damnation for leaving the Catholic Church. After all, that all knowing God would already know that the Church I had attended as a boy… had left me…

Left me utterly disillusioned.