Times They R A Channgin’

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

So I was watching TV the other day and some commercial featuring Bob Dylan’s iconic “Times They Are A Changin” appeared. I never was a huge Dylan fan when it came to his singing however as a writer there aren’t many better and this song was just one of his many classics. Dylan recorded it in 1963 and released it in January of 1964 during the heydey of Vietnam and also during the Civil Rights movement. I think he even said the reason he wrote it was to create an anthem of change. Less than a month after Dylan recorded the song, President John F Kennedy was  assassinated  in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The next night, Dylan opened a concert with “The Times They Are a-Changin’”; he told biographer Anthony Scaduto “I thought, ‘Wow, how can I open with that song? I’ll get rocks thrown at me.’ But I had to sing it, my whole concert takes off from there. I know I had no understanding of anything. Something had just gone haywire in the country and they were applauding the song. And I couldn’t understand why they were clapping, or why I wrote the song. I couldn’t understand anything. For me, it was just insane.” It became one of many protest songs of the 60’s and 70’s and is a go to protest song even to this day.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin

I’m always amazed when I listen to protest songs from that era and you see we are still protesting the same issues today that we were protesting then, only with a few new twists. Or to put it in song title terms, “The Song Remains The Same”, as Led Zeppelin recorded. The song has remained the same for the last 55 years and will probably remain the same the next 55 years but that is another gasbagging rant for another day. We have our stand-bys like civil rights, cops are still pigs. War will always be protested, Right To Life, Women’s Rights, gun control. Now we protest any and everything. The names may have changed but yes the song is remaining the same. Instead of Nixon, it’s Trump. There is hardly anything we don’t protest these days. At a recent protest of something, President Trump said that the protesting should not allowed. Sorry Donald, nothing is more American than protesting even if they are ridiculous as UC San Diego’s “Free the Nipple”or the time when the California Polytechnic University Students held a “Shit-In” Yes, you read that right. Cal Poly students held a three-day “shit-in” to protest the lack of access to gender neutral bathrooms. Students were encouraged to sign a mock toilet during the protest, on which messages such as “poop equality”. I guess my favorite is when a group of Amherst College students, known as “Amherst Uprising,”  issued demands  to their university, “to address the legacy of oppression on campus.” One target of their demand protest was a group of students who placed posters on the campus to promote free speech. “Amherst Uprising” called for the free speech fans to be disciplined and “be required to attend extensive training for racial and cultural competency.” What all of these campus protests have in common beside most being in California is that they demonstrate just how out-of-touch college students are with how the world works beyond the college bubble. You really have to wonder how today’s coddled undergraduates will adjust to the real world. I have my doubts.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Times truly are-a-changin’. As we get older we will see changes in our life as well. I find myself slowing down. I never have been a ball of fire but I am becoming more of a flicker of fire. Attitudes change. As I was getting older I was finding myself becoming more of a curmudgeon or worse more like the Michael Douglas character, William Foster in “Falling Down”, then 6 years ago I swore off Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Rush and my life is for the better. Sure I get tore up on occasions when my inner William Foster returns after I see something culturally crazy. Seriously in the grand scheme of things does it really matter? I think Mahatma Gandhi said it beautifully when he said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed”. I try to hit the brakes more as I age. I just spend my time now on the internet doing Buzzfeed quizzes. Plus my wife says I am much easier to be around.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

For those who want to increase your speed we look at 2019. Possibly there will be much to protest. Another Supreme Court Judge? That should get your heart rate pumping. That will be the mother of all protest. Climate change? Better hurry on that one, we don’t have but 12 years. We have more Confederate statues in the South that needs to be protested. Go to Clemson, John C. Calhoun is on the chopping block. Everyone who runs for office now can be protested when they find something in their past from when they were 12. Colin Kaepernick and the NFL are still around and of course anything Trump. So there is a buffet of protesting to choose from. The fields are ripe for protest. There many ways to increase your life’s speed if you choose to but hopefully you will slow your life speed down and look at all the beautiful things that this life has to offer. As for myself, I will sit back and just watch the stupidity and gasbag about all of it. That’s what I do.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

2 responses to “Times They R A Channgin’”

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