As “interesting” as our world has become recently, I’m ready for a heavy dose of “un-interesting.”
Growing up in the ‘70s, our typical ritual was to hang out uptown, hook up with some buddies, hang out and find something to do. Time d-r-a-g-g-e-d and we couldn’t wait for tomorrow, hoping that it would be more exciting than today.
Growing up in the ‘70s wasn’t easy. The ‘60s were no piece of cake either. Come to think of it, when was the last “easy” decade in America?
These days, unless “Gunsmoke” or “Green Acres” is on, I’ve been switching off the TV and turning on the tunes.
There was a lot wrong with the ‘70s, but one thing that was right (most of the time) was the music. What made those tunes so good?
One word, I think: Harmony.
Most of the songs – even the sad ones and some of the bad ones – had it. Instruments and voices blended together and created a sound that soothed. “The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies, “Easy” by The Commodores, Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia” and Jazzman” by Carole King, and dozens and dozens of others.
The times were anything but soothing, but the music sure was.
It’s different today. Harmony has been replaced by discord. The times have hijacked the music, too; mellow is out; loud and screeching is in.
Harmony was a founding principle of America. It was expressed in Latin: E pluribus unum, meaning, “Out of many, one.”
E pluribus unum has been the unofficial national motto since the 13 colonies became one nation in 1776.
No matter what the challenges were, “many” found a way to come together as one for a common purpose. United States of America. Get it?
Attaching labels and keeping score didn’t matter like they do today. We overcame – or at least neutralized – our differences long enough to find a way forward. Together. The closest we’ve come to recapturing that attitude since I was a kid was in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and it didn’t take us long to forget.
Speaking of forgetting, here’s a great Final Jeopardy question.
What is the “official” motto of the U.S. that Congress adopted in 1956?
What is “In God We Trust?”
How’s that for irony?