The Times They Are A-Changin…

In 1964 Bob Dylan wrote and performed an important song that was on his heart during those days. Fifty-three years later, it’s 2017 and boy things have changed – but the lyrics are pertinent, if not perfect, for today. 

Personally I’ve changed more in the past year than I ever have insofar as identifying what is important to me, and for whom and for what I’ll fight to protect. Our country is changing so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up (I almost said that our country is changing so haphazardly that it is heartbreaking to keep up).

Since I became 18 and eligible to vote I have watched and learned about politics from the sidelines. We did not discuss politics at home – more than likely because my parents had very different views on all things political and most things of a religious nature. So we just avoided those two subjects. I kept my opinions to myself for many, many years as I came to realize I was a fish out of water in Oklahoma because I am more liberal than conservative, and I tend to align more with the Democratic Party. Have I voted for a Republican? Absolutely! Ultimately I choose the person over the party. If a Republican supports and promotes the values and issues that I support, I will vote for that Republican candidate. I NEVER vote a straight party ticket as I think it’s dangerous.  However, I learned early in my voting life that in Oklahoma you can stand in line for an hour to vote for a Democrat for President and get in the car to hear national news coverage already calling the state Republican. To say I feel that my voice is ignored would be an understatement. I won’t go into my feelings about our antiquated two party system or the Electoral College here….

Why am I bringing this up now? It’s time for me to become active and vocal in local, state and national politics. For 8 years I read negative, derogatory, and disrespectful things about President Obama and I kept my mouth shut. One personal incident that took place right after President Obama was elected in 2007 shocked me into silence until the Presidential campaigns began in earnest last year. By then I was very concerned where our country was heading. I became more open on Facebook about my beliefs and my respect for President Obama, and I became very vocal about candidates I believed to be unfit to be President of this great country. I cannot count the times I was called stupid, ignorant, a feminazi, and even more hateful, racist names by my friends and people that barely know me. I’ve lost friends, and I’ve questioned whether I really knew these people I’ve considered friends for years. I’m grateful for those friends that we could agree to disagree on politics and still laugh about the same funny pictures or share good times and bad. 

We all have a voice and the opportunity to do something positive for our country. What I choose to do and what you choose to do may be different – the most important thing we both are doing is becoming active in bringing about change. I don’t want to rest on past success this nation has experienced and I want to move forward to create a better, stronger United States of America for our youth and future leaders. 

What will you do? Will you be a positive force bringing people together that may not agree? Are you willing to keep the dialog open in respect and love for one another?  

I think it’s appropriate to close with the wise words of Bob Dylan from 1964 – 

Come gather around 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
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing

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 telling who that it’s naming
For the loser now will be later to win
Cause the times they are a-changing

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 the battle outside raging
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing

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 aging
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Cause the times they are a-changing

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slowest now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fading
And the first one now will later be last
Cause the times they are a-changing

Songwriters: Bob Dylan

The Times They Are A-Changin’ lyrics © Bob Dylan Music Co.