Imagine, Indeed

A recent Metro Voices blog post by Maureen Sieh of the Post Standard talks about local high school students attending the inauguration in Washington. A picture shows the chorus from Corcoran High rehearsing their rendition of “Imagine” by John Lennon.

I’m always amazed at the number of groups that sing and/or quote this song, usually to imply a stock theme of unity, peace and brotherhood. His martyrdom and Beatles marketing has allowed people to forget how profoundly radical John Lennon was.

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Now imagine any public figure today saying so forcefully that religion, materialism and political boundaries need to be abolished if we are to make a better world.

Remember all the fuss Obama kicked up when he said that bitter low income whites cling to their religion and guns? Think of the reaction to this Lennon quote, from “Working Class Hero:”

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free,
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see

Imagine, indeed.


3 thoughts on “Imagine, Indeed

  1. totally agreed. one of my favorite bush-era moments was when a jock on one of the local “classic rock” stations – a big with-us-or-against-us supporter of the war in iraq – said that keanu reaves had become the latest celebrity to “turn against his own country” by criticizing the war; yet this jock would and will casually play ‘imagine,’ or ‘fortunate son,’ or ‘for what it’s worth’ or any of the passionate antiwar songs of the vietnam era without batting an eye – and without the imagination to recognize his own contradiction. it’s a little like mccain invoking the spirit of truman, but forgetting how truman was vilified and driven out of office by the right, who charged him with being soft on the reds, if not downright treasonous.

    knowledge and history are becoming increasingly a nuisance in this country for people who’d prefer things to always be as they want them to be.



  2. that said, i put a lot more stock in a group from corcoran signing that song – and believing in the potential , through this inauguration, for a better world – than some of the places where you mention hearing ‘imagine.’



  3. sean:

    No knock against Corcoran–more power to the choir and its aspirations.

    As for the words of “Imagine” in the here and now . . . I’m listening to pundits after the inaugural today and they are all saying how Obama has to govern from the center/right. Didn’t they listen to inaugural address? Obama is neither left nor right, he’s in front. The pragmatists are in the driver’s seat.


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