The Murder of America
“I can’t remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride, but something touched me deep inside, the day the music died.” American Pie, Don McLean
The music has certainly died in America. No matter how painful it is to admit this nation is but a shadow of its former self. Webster’s defined shadow as “An imperfect and faint representation.” This is not your grandfather’s America
Perhaps that is why American Pie was so poignant and why it hit a nerve with America. Released in 1971, the year I graduated from high school, there was an eeriness to the song that none of us could put a finger on. But yes, something about the song did “touch us deep inside.” The decade of the 70’s certainly left a mark on the soul of all who lived through those times.
It was as if we had been traumatized by the social revolution we had just lived through including 4-dead-in Ohio, the murder of the Kennedy’s, King, and Christian morality, causing a slow bleed-out of the American dream most of us had grown up in. We couldn’t really put our fingers on it because it wasn’t a single sniper shot that did it, but a slow agonizing cancer that took years to suck the life out.
But we felt the wound, we knew something had changed. We couldn’t put our finger on it but we sensed the drip, drip, drip, of normalcy leaving us as the reality of our wounding slowly sucked the Truth out of us. Maybe it was disenchantment, maybe it was the realization that this wasn’t Kansas anymore or simply the dread in the heart when you know that you can’t go home again.
America didn’t die. America was murdered. Yes, America was murdered and we had been eye witnesses to the assassination. Although the corpse was still warm, we sensed that a body-double had been inserted in its place. The Baby Boom generation watched it happen. In fact, we participated in it. We joined our parents on the Sea of Forgetfulness as we paddled our way out into the deep. A nation without a moral standard is a ship without a rudder. We were smiling broadly as the ship began to sink. Self indulgence ran the Good Ship America aground.
Some people call it suicide. But suicide is when you knowingly choose to end your own life. This wasn’t suicide. We didn’t do it on purpose. This was murder by mal-nutrition. “You are what you eat” we were told as we continued to gorge upon a Devil’s brew of licentiousness and liberty. Freedom is the right to what is right. There is no God given “right” to do wrong.
But our executioners had a plan. They understood what Cicero had warned centuries ago. There was poison in our food, but we loved the sweet taste as it dripped off the corners of our mouths. We trusted our “teachers” without taste-testing what they were serving.