Protests remind

me of the 1960s

As I watch the news each night, I can’t help thinking how little has fundamentally changed in the last 50 years. It prompted me to put together a compilation of protest songs from the 1960s that sadly are still relevant today.

Of course, there’s Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.” “How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?”

Apparently, a lot more.

Change the location and Phil Ochs’ “Too Many Martyrs” still rings true. “Too many martyrs and too many dead, Too many lies, too many empty words were said.”

The violence in Minneapolis brings to mind Gordon Lightfoot’s “Black Day in July,” which has us asking, “Why can’t we all be brothers, why can’t we live in peace?”

And the answer keeps coming up: “But the hands of the have-nots keep falling out of reach.”

Malvina Reynolds’ “It Isn’t Nice” explains why demonstrations continue. “There are nicer ways to do it, but the nice ways always fail,” prompting people to say, “It isn’t nice to go to jail … but if that’s freedom’s price, we don’t mind.”

And Phil Ochs’ “In the Heat of the Summer” gives his answer. “So wrong, so wrong, but we’ve been down so long, And we had to make somebody listen.”

Will the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” be prophetic? Bob Dylan said, “The Times They are A-Changin’,” but 50 years later, we still have a ways to go.

Roy Gratz


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