We better stop, children

There’s something happening here,
what it is ain’t exactly clear.

There’s not a person my age who does not recognize the opening line of the Buffalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth.”
That song has been rattling around in my head all week.

There’s a man with a gun over there,
telling me I got to beware.

The cop pulls over the black motorist and approaches the car with weapon drawn. For good reason, he thinks.
The black driver pulls to the side of the road and watches the cop approach. He’s done nothing more than perhaps run a red light, maybe not even that, but still he shakes with fear. For good reason, he thinks.
America watches. After the fact, of course.
And America takes sides.

There’s battle lines being drawn,
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.

It’s a classic “us and them.”
You’re either for us or against us.
Can’t be both.
Can’t be both.

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, ‘Hooray for our side.’

There’s no middle ground. No compromise. No understanding.
No two ways about it.
You’re Democrat or Republican.
Liberal or Conservative.
Pro-gun or anti-gun.
Pro-cop. Or pro-Black Lives Matter.
Choose a side, damn it.
Choose a side.
Or we’ll choose one for you.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

The song was written in 1966, released in ’67. It became an anthem for a generation. A generation that once believed people could live in peace.
That generation is now in charge. Has been for some time.
Have we forgotten how beautiful we once were?

We better stop
children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look — what’s going down?

It’s time we remembered.

Ed Ackerman