Maryellen McCabe
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A Rock'n'Roll Version of the Heroes and Heroines of American History
from the Idealistic and Utopian Point of View

Lyrics, Music, and Book compiled by Maryellen McCabe
Copyright l992

Destiny of America can be the Hair of the 90's.
- Ned Metola, former creative director of Grey Advertising

I salute Maryellen McCabe for her vision and her creativity.
- Gov. Mario Cuomo

This is great rock music with a message.
- Emily Laber, Gannett Newspaper

SPIRITUAL DESTINY OF AMERICA is an epic rock musical celebration of the history of the United States, featuring the writing of Francis Bacon, John Masefield, Alfred Lord Tennyson, George Bernard Shaw, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emma Lazarus, Walt Whitman, Sojourner Truth, Mark Twain, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Pete Hamill, and Abraham Maslow.

The staging of the script is to involve film and slide projection, taped and live sound accompanying the written word to form a mixed media collage.
A full seven piece band is center stage with five platforms at different levels surrounding the band. The cast includes twelve actor-singer-dancers, and seven musicians.

Behind the band and platforms are three rear projection screens.
A chorus of voices opens the show singing:


There is a Destiny
To help humanity.
(Repeat three times)
culminating in the lyric:
To Build Plato's New Atlantis
was the vision of Sir Francis

Visuals depicting ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND and the INQUISITION form a background as the NARRATOR speaks:

In Elizabethan England, the age of Francis Bacon, the evils of the Dark Ages and the fight against feudalism were by no means over. The spirit of unrest and change was in the air. The social life of the common people was for ages wretched in the extreme, and the majority lived in hovels.
The church was at full blast destroying heretics with torture, fire and the sword; selling indulgences for crime and vice to all who had money to pay for "priestly pardons." But, secretly scattered throughout the continent were little knots of intellectuals and spiritually minded men who were secretly striving to bring about a new order of society to free the masses of church and State, and to inculcate the idea of education and freedom of thought as the true pathway to progress.

While serving his diplomatic apprenticeship at the French Court of Navarre, Francis Bacon was initiated into the new liberalism represented throughout Europe by secret societies of intellectuals dedicated to civil and religious freedom. He returned to England fully aware of the sinister intentions of the Inquisitional Spanish King who was resolved to control England for religious and secular reasons.

In order to prevent the Spanish domination of the new world, Francis Bacon masterminded the English colonization plan for America, cherishing as he did his Utopian Dream of the Great Commonwealth of his New Atlantis; free of a dominant clergy and entrenched Aristocracy.
Alfred Dodd

How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in't.
Shakespeare, The Tempest

Lastly, I would address one general admonition to all, that they consider what are the true ends of knowledge, and that they seek it not either for pleasure of the mind, or for contention, or for superiority to others, or for profit, or fame, or power, or for any of these inferior things; but for the benefit, and use of life; and that they perfect and govern it in charity. For it was from lust of power that the angels fell; from lust of knowledge that man fell; but of charity there can be no excess, neither did angel or man ever come in danger by it....let us hope there may spring help to man, and a line and race of inventions that may in some degree subdue and overcome the necessities and miseries of humanity.
Francis Bacon, The Great Instauration

It is the great discovery of the age...the world will ring with it...Francis Bacon, Bacon only had written the Shakespeare drama.
Mark Twain, Bigolow Biography



There is a destiny to help humanity
There is a grand design
It began in an ancient time
To build Plato's New Atlantic
Was the mission of Sir Francis

Like Prometheus reaching to heaven for fire,
to bring to the earth what God inspired
the spear shaking poet Lord Bacon conspired,
A Utopian land, the brotherhood of man.

Like Arthurian knights who search for the Grail
There's a story to tell; it's like a fairy tale
With his Rosy Cross band,
Together they planned,
a Utopian Land, the brotherhood of man.

The mind of Science
Like Satan's defiance
Shall lead mankind astray
Love must guide the mind on its way.

Centuries before Columbus arrived in the New World, democracy as practiced by the Native American Iroquois League was alive and well waiting for the founding fathers to discover it. The Native American teaching particularly as exposed by Hiawatha, founder of the great Iroquois League of Peace, had a tremendous influence on Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Many of the ideas of Hiawatha became incorporated into our constitution.

I am of the opinion...that securing the friendship of the Indians is of the greatest consequence for these colonies...The colonists should accept the Iroquois advice to form a union in common defense under a common, federal government...
Benjamin Franklin

Brothers, our forefathers rejoiced to hear Canassatego [of the Iroquois] speak...[His words] sunk deep into our hearts. The advice was good. It was kind. They said to one another: 'The Six Nations are a wise people, let us hearken to them, and take their counsel; and teach our children to follow it,' Our old men have done so. They have frequently taken a single arrow and said, Children, see how easily it is broken. Then they have taken and tied twelve arrows together with a strong string or cord and our strongest men could not break them. See, said they, this is what the Six Nations mean. Divided, a single man may destroy you; United, you are a match for the whole world...
Benjamin Franklin

Here is what Cadwallader Colden (Johansen, l982, xiv), a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin, said about the Iroquois:

[The Indians] have 'outdone the Romans'...[They have] a social and political system so old that the immigrant Europeans knew nothing of its origins-a federal union of five (and later six) Indian nations that had put into practice concepts of popular participation and natural rights that the European savants had thus far only theorized. The Iroquoian system, expressed through its constitution 'The Great Law of Peace,' rested on assumptions foreign to monarchies of Europe: it regarded leaders as servants of the people, rather than their masters, and made provision for their leaders' impeachment for errant behavior. The Iroquois' law and custom upheld freedom of expression in political and religious matters and it forbade the unauthorized entry of homes. It provided for political participation by women and relatively equitable distribution of wealth...



Once upon the medicine wheel,
the sacred hoop, the karmic reel
Deganawida taught a brave to heal the warrior wounds of war
"Hiawatha" he implored, "bring my peace to all nations"
and for 12 generations
The Great Spirits ways walked the land
and the peace tree he planted still stands

We are one, we are one,
Hiawatha's song shall be sung
We are sisters, we are brothers,
we are children of the mother
we are one, we are one.

Hiawatha smoked the great peace pipe
seven rings reached heaven's heights
where the thunder bird spread her wings
and the hummingbird began to sing.
Yellow, black, red and white
the rainbow tribes of man unites
and the Great Spirit's ways walked the land
and the peace tree he planted still stands.

He brought a new order for the ages
And the bloody war painted pages
of history, made way for unity.

In a rare old book, owned by the late A.P. Warrington, an account of a speech made by an unknown Patriot at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

A group of men gathered in the old State House in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, preparatory to signing the Declaration. Among them were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and John Adams. It was late in the afternoon and they had not signed the Declaration. These men realized that they were faced with the death penalty for high treason if the Revolutionary War failed....Naturally, they were reluctant to sign the document, and their courage seemed to wane.

Suddenly a strong voice sounded from the balcony. A man was speaking to the group of men.

"They may stretch our necks on all the gibbets in the land, they may turn every rock into a scaffold, every tree into a gallows, every home into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die! They may pour blood on a thousand scaffolds, and yet from every drop of blood that dyes the ax, a new champion of Freedom will spring into birth! You cannot blot out the words of God written on that parchment there. The works of God may perish, His words, never!
"The words of the Declaration will live in the world long after our bones are dust. To the mechanic in his workshop they will speak hope, to the slaves in the mines, Freedom, but to the coward kings, these words will speak tones of warning they cannot choose but hear.
"Sign that parchment! Sign! if in the next moment the gibbet's rope is about your neck! Sign! by all your hopes in life or death, as men, as husbands, as fathers, brothers! or be accursed forever. Sign! not only for yourselves but for all ages, for that parchment will be the textbook of Freedom, the Bible of the rights of men forever.
"Nay, do not start and whisper with surprise. It is true - your own hearts witness it! God proclaims it. Look at this strange band of exiles and outcasts, suddenly transformed into a people, a handful of men, weak in arms but Mighty in God-like faith. Look at your recent achievements - your Bunker Hill, your Lexington, and then tell me, if you can, that God has not given American to be free!
"I beg you to sign that parchment for the sake of these millions whose very breath is now hushed in intense expectations as they look up to you for the beautiful words. YOU ARE FREE!
"Were my soul trembling on the verge of eternity, were this hand freezing to death, were this voice choking in the last struggle, I would still, with the last gasp of that voice, implore you to remember this truth -God has given America to be Free!"

The unknown speaker sank exhausted in his chair. The men, fortified with his enthusiasm, rushed forward. John Hancock was the first to snatch up the quill and pen his name. He had hardly finished before the quill was groped by another, and then another, and yet another. Finally, it was done.
They turned to thank the man for his inspiring words, but he was not there, and unfortunately no one knew who he was or where to find him.


He was noble and strong.
He would right the wrongs.
The slaving schemes
of the Kings and Queens
And the churches wars,
the preaching whores
Who use God like a fearful sword
and commit crimes in the name of the Lord.


Bring down the gilded crown.
It's the end of the age of Kings.
Let the bells of freedom ring.
Let the bells of freedom ring.

The rebel declared...
"The world shall be fair,
If we must fight, we shall have life.
And liberty, America shall be free.
Tis the land of opportunity."


He plowed with his pen paradise land,
To harvest the hope, the family of man;
his name was Jefferson.

...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...
Thomas Jefferson

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus, "New Colossus" - used on the Statue of Liberty

Music by Maryellen McCabe
Words by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, ... credit and the Muse,--
Nothing refuse.

...It was never for the mean;
It requireth courage stout.
Souls above doubt,
Valor unbending,
It will reward,-
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.

Leave all for love;
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behooved,
One pulse more of firm endeavor,-
Keep thee to-day,
To-morrow, forever,...

Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, and the Muse,--
Nothing refuse.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let the passion for America cast out the passion for Europe. Here let there be what the earth waits for,--exalted manhood. What this country longs for is personalities, grand persons, to counteract its materialities....
Our helm is given up to a better guidance than our own;..."
What is popularly called Transcendentalism among us is Idealism: Idealism as it appears in l842. As thinkers, mankind have ever divided into two sects, Materialists and Idealists; ... The materialist insists on facts, on history, on the force of circumstances and the animal wants of man; the idealist on the power of Thought and of Will, on inspiration, on miracle, on individual culture...
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sung at the completion of the Battle Monument, July 4, 1837

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In October, l840, Emerson writes to Carlyle:-

We are all a little wild here with numberless projects of social reform. Not a reading man but has a draft of a new community in his waistcoat pocket.

We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds....A nation of men will for the first time exist, because each believes himself inspired by the Divine Soul which also inspires all men.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


(Narrator in character:)
Mr. Lincoln, the woman said, I never heard tell of you before they put you up for president. But I heard of you, the President answered, smiling.
...She was called 'a sign unto the people.' None who ever met her could forget her. Harriet Beecher Stowe could not recall 'anyone who had more of that silent and subtle power which we call personal presence.''Chillun, I talk to God, and God talks to me,' Sojourner Truth told everyone, high or humble. She began her dialogue with God as a whipped slave child...and continued it in log cabins and mansions, in county courtrooms and the U.S. Senate chamber...
'Well, chillun, where there's so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the niggers of the South and the women at the North all a-talking 'bout rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon...'
'Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men 'cause Christ warn't a woman. Where did your Christ come from?'
...'Where did your Christ come from?'

'...From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with it!'
Her Name Was Sojourner Truth, Hertha Pauli



Chillun, she said, I talks to God
and God talks to me.
He's saying, "Sojourner Truth
you've got to stop the slavery."

Sing out sister with the love of your heart
Sing sister and the water will part
Like Moses crossing the red sea
Sojourner Truth set your people free.

Sing out sister against the hate
Sing our sister with a fearless faith
Take up my cross and walk the land
Jesus shall be your eyes and hands.

Don't worry if you can't read or write,
It doesn't matter you've got Solomon's sight
and a mother's heart and a silver tongue
to speak out about the wrong being done...yes the
cruel torture of the slaves,
the whipping by the minds depraved,
the lowest of the low, who take joy
at seeing black mamas, and the daddies and boys
crawling on their bellies with their spirits destroyed.

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won:
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

This Dust Was Once the Man
This dust was once the man,
Gentle, plain, just and resolute, under whose cautious hand,
Against the foulest crime in history known in any land or age,
Was saved the Union of these States.



Brother fought Brother
They killed one another
War ... bloody war
spread through the land.

Brother fought Brother
They killed one another
War ... bloody war
spread through the land.
A house divided cannot stand.

Oh the Blue and the Grey coats marched along.
The bugles reveled a soldier's song.
They were all brave boys
with courageous dreams
who became bitter men by the age of 18.
And the glamour of battle
soon lost its charm,
When your cannon ball fodder
missing legs and arms
Where's the glory of the flag
and the glamour of war,
When the maggots are lodging
in your wounds and sores?

(chorus repeat)

In the middle of the night
there were noonday skies
and the fires from hell
to the heavens did arise.
Sherman torched Atlanta
with the wrath of mars
and the south will forever
bear the scars.
Sherman's march to sea
was a senseless slaughter,
the bluecoats raped
all the Georgia daughters.
They begged for mercy
and they screamed with fear.
The bluecoats laughed
with a vengeful jeer.

(chorus repeat)


What happened to the grand plan?
The founding fathers family of man?
What happened to the home of the free?
The lady weeps for liberty.
Men rule with an iron hand
Marshall law has taken over the land.

(Chorus repeat)

(Members of the chorus. Each take a quote:)
For twenty-five or thirty years I have squandered a deal of my time--too much of it perhaps--in trying to guess what is going to be the process which will turn our republic into a monarch and how far off that event might be.
For fifty years our country has been a constitutional monarchy, with the Republican party sitting on the throne.

...Ours is not only a monarchy but a hereditary monarchy--in the one political family. It passes from heir to heir as regularly and as surely and as unpreventably as does any throne in Europe. Our monarch is more powerful, more arbitrary, more autocratic than any in Europe, its White House commands are not under restraint of law or custom or the Constitution, it can ride down the Congress as the Czar cannot ride down the Duma....It can pack the Supreme Court with judges friendly to its ambitions, and it has threatened--by the voice of a Secretary of State--to do this....
By a system of extraordinary tariffs it has created a number of giant corporations in the interest of a few rich men, and by most ingenious and persuasive reasoning has convinced the multitudinous and grateful unrich that the tariffs were instituted in their interest.

For years the rich corporations have furnished vast sums of money to keep the Republican party in power, and have done this upon the understanding that their monopolies were to be shielded and protected in return...
The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet....Our standards were fairly high a generation ago, and they had been brought to that grade by some generations of wholesome labor on the part of the nation's multitudinous teachers; but Jay Gould, all by himself, was able to undermine the structure in half a dozen years; and in thirty years his little band of successors...have been able to sodden it with decay from roof to cellar and render it shaky beyond repair...

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to exercise either of them.

Mark Twain




On the tail of Halley's Comet from Jupiter he came
To Hannibal Missouri
with the pen name Mark Twain
And the Mississippi mother was his home
And the love of his life was St. Joan

With his corn pone opinion
he challenged the dominions
of the teachers and the preachers who would pray.
Will that heathen laughing go away.
And with the sword of his humor he would slay
all the Christian demons
and Republican's scheming
to market a monarch to the land,
with a dollar bill scepter in their hands.


Like the robe of an angel is his suit of white.
The Connecticut Yankee was King Arthur's knight.
His charming comedy was born from tragedy,
for he saw more than other men could see,
His conscience too keen to let him be...
He was the jester for the free.

Now the stagecoach is a limo,
and the riverboats a yacht,
and the Mississippi magic the nation has forgot,
and the boy named Tom Sawyer has become a busy man
with a Ph.D. and a law degree,
his soul is crippled as he stands.
And he mourns at the funeral of this man.

...So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance....
...a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.
Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance....Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.
...The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.
...These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, Washington, March 4, l933



There is nothing to fear but fear itself
If you have courage, if you have faith,
then you have wealth,
said the crippled man with polio
in his fireside chats on the radio.

How do the despots come to power?
Fear lets them have their day.
How can the people sit back and cower?
Fear makes their hearts betray...
and the dictators get their way


And did you know the great Catholic pope
with his crucifix and his golden cloak
he could have stopped the death camps
with one letter with the Vatican stamp.


Few women in American history had posed to themselves more steadily questions like "what am I here for, what is life's purpose, who am I?" The spirit that had prompted such questioning had infused the Roosevelt years. The American Great Seal contains an open eye within a radiant nimbus at the tip of a pyramid above which is the inscription annuit coeptis--"he smiles at our undertaking."
Joseph Lash

While she was with man had to feel entirely alone.
Doris Fleeson

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
Eleanor Roosevelt

The hysteria that swept the country in the postwar years was her chief of her letters to President Truman was devoted to the matter of witch-hunts:

It happens that I have given up any activities with the Progressive Citizens of America because I am convinced that there are people in the top levels of that organization that still are clearly connected with the Communist Party in this country or who are too chicken-hearted and afraid of being called red-baiters. Therefore, they serve the purposes of the party....

But people should not be condemned because they were members of the PCA:
I remember when my husband and I heard about a list the FBI had of organizations that were considered subversive and anyone who had contributed to these organizations was automatically considered to be questionable. My husband told me that I could ask to see it and we spent an evening going through it and believe it or not, my husband's mother was one of the first people named because she had contributed to a Chinese relief organization and both Secretary Stimson and Secretary Knox were listed as having contributed to several organizations....
Forgive me for writing a long letter again but I have been troubled by what looks like a real chance that some of the methods of the Russians might be coming our way.
...[W]hen you cease to make a contribution you begin to die....Therefore, I think it a necessity to be doing something which you feel is helpful in order to grow old gracefully and contentedly.
Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home--so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity, without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.
My own approach to any difficulties that emerge among the United Nations is that there is one paramount thing to remember--namely that we have discovered super weapons of destruction. If we wish we can destroy ourselves and our entire civilization. If we do not wish to do this, then we must learn to get on together without war. That entails the success of the UNO.
The job of writing a peace and then building a peaceful world through the United Nations Organization based on that peace is not the job alone of the government officials....It is the job of the peoples of the world, and it will be done only if they put their strength back of their representatives and insist that the main objectives of keeping peace in the world shall always be in the forefront of everybody's mind.
Eleanor Roosevelt




The enemies wanted to tie her tongue;
to shut her up the mud was slung.
For speaking out she must atone;
A woman's place is in the home.
But she ... had a mind of her own;
She had a mind of her own.

While the blue blood ladies were sipping tea
and talking of recipes,
She ... was with the hungry.
She was on the bread lines.
And while the blue bloods went out to dine
to drink their prohibition wine,
She was saving children
from sweat shops and coal mines.


And when McCarthy made a land of fear,
and the nation whispered in case he'd hear,
and the black list destroyed careers,
She said we must not be afraid,
and let the F.B.I. come raid
our thoughts, our hearts, our homes.
Joe McCarthy must be taken off his throne.



She was the conscience
of a generation.
She was the first lady
of all nations.


I say to you today, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow. I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,'
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood....
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
...So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. But not only that. Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountain side.
When we allow freedom to ring--when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual 'Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty. We are free at last.'
Martin Luther King



I remember when Dr. King would speak
He said, "Love shall make the enemies weak
when you turn the other cheek.
Though they beat you to the ground
we shall overcome with unified sound
and like the walls of Jericho,
the hatred shall come tumbling down.

Don't go walking to the back of the bus
You stay up front and make a peaceful fuss.
Tell the driver you would rather go to your grave
than be treated like a slave.

Walk right up to the front of that school-
integration is the law and the rule.
We won't be kept illiterate fools
We all have minds to shine like jewels.

(Chorus Repeat)

(Note: A cello version of Jimi Hendrix's version of the Star Spangled Banner plays underneath the following recitation of Mark Twain's words, widely used during the Viet Nam protest in the sixties.)

I pray to you to pause and consider. Against our traditions we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war, a war against a helpless people, and for a base object--robbery. At first our citizens spoke out against this thing by an impulse natural to their training. Today they have turned, and their voice is the other way. What caused this change? Merely a politician's trick--a high-sounding phrase, a blood-stirring phrase which turned their uncritical heads: Our Country, right or wrong! An empty phrase, a silly phrase. It was shouted by every newspaper, it was thundered from the pulpit....the War Department inscribed it upon the flag. And every man who failed to shout it, or who was silent, was proclaimed a traitor--none but those others were patriots. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, 'Our Country, right or wrong," and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that phrase is an insult to the nation....
Only when a republic's life is in danger should a man uphold his government when it is in the wrong. There is no other time.
This Republic's life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It has swung itself loose from its safe anchorage and is drifting, it helm is in pirate hands. The stupid phrase needed help, and it got another one: 'Even if the war be wrong we are in it and must fight it out: we cannot retire from it without dishonor.' Why, not even a burglar could have said it better. We cannot withdraw from this sordid raid because to grant peace to those little people upon their terms--independence--would dishonor us. You have flung away Adam's phrase--you should take it up and examine it again. He said, 'An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war,'
You have planted a seed, and it will grow.
Mark Twain on the Philippine War, as widely used in the anti-Vietnam War protest in the sixties.

(Note: image of JFK's first inaugural address occurring with Frost's poem:)

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

The Young Kennedy girls were crying and wailing, knowing, I suppose, what the guys my age discovered in Dallas: Youth was over. 'Sick,' one girl kept saying. 'Sick. Sick. What kind of country is this? Sick. Sick.' Outside, there were cops everywhere and sirens. The cops were trying to get one of the wounded into a taxi. The cabby didn't want to take him, afraid, I suppose, that blood would sully his nice plastic upholstery.

When we got through the police barricades, we drove without talk to the Hospital of the Good Samaritan, listening to the news on the radio. The unspoken thought was loudest: The country's gone, Medgar Evers was dead, Malcolm X was dead. Martin Luther King was dead, Jack Kennedy was dead, and now Robert Kennedy was dying. The hell with it. The hatred was now general....

I remembered the night in 1964, in that bitter winter after John Kennedy's murder, when Robert Kennedy appeared at a St. Patrick's Day dinner in Scranton, Pennsylvania....Bob told them about Owen O'Neill, an Irish patriot whose ideals had survived his martyrdom. Men were crying as he read the old Irish ballad:

Chorus sing:

Oh, why did you leave us, Owen?Why did you die? ...
We're sheep without a shepherd,
When the snow shuts out the sky.
Oh, why did you leave us, Owen?

Pete Hamill



It was a cold, dark Saturn season,
And the leaders of treason
came to fame.
Oh the brothers of darkness reign.
The flame of truth became
like smoke,
and with cloaks and daggers
like the KGB
They have hidden lady liberty.

O Say can't you see,
there's a conspiracy.
O Say can't you see,
there's a conspiracy.

It was a cold, dark Saturn season,
And the leaders of treason
came to fame.
Oh the brothers of darkness reign.
Robber barons rule again
making money is the rainbow's end.
You've got to carve out your own niche, they say
or you will starve
digging your ditch someday.


O Say can't you see,
there is a conspiracy
and I swear they killed the Kennedy's.
I swear they killed the Kennedy's.

It was a cold, dark Saturn season,
And the leaders of treason came to fame.
Oh the brothers of darkness reign.
Cocaine money made a weapon's deal.
The White House would lie and steal.
Like the Sheriff of Nottingham,
they tax the poor for a banking scam.

O Say can't you see,
there is a conspiracy.
O Say can't you see,
there is a conspiracy.

Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Some people see things as they are and ask why; I dream things that never were and ask why not.
George Bernard Shaw



Where there is no vision a people perish,
Where there are no dreams to cherish, a nation dies.
Where are the leaders like Jefferson?
Where are the heroes and heroines?
Where are the people who see the work to be done?


If not you, who will be the answer?
If not you, who will heal the cancer?
If not you, then who?

Who will tell the children they can fly?
Who will play the Catcher in the Rye?
Why in schools do the minds all die?

Who will hear the cries of the third World poor?
Who will stop the Holocaust of a Nuclear War?
Where are all the ladies to hold
Athena's sword?

(Chorus Repeat)


Copyright © 1992 Maryellen McCabe

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