by Marion Marks
Christmas, for young and old as well as Americans of every faith, is a time of change in many aspects of life. It’s a transformation for people who discover new values and capabilities as they observe changes that surround them. To many the season is about personal change, but to others it may simply be a time when change surrounds others – inertia and fear restrict them from participating in the spiritual evolution.
Sesame Street’s Elmo embodies doubts and fears like children everywhere at Christmas. But, in 2007, Elmo has help coming to terms with his fears when Alicia Keys emboldens his confidence to appreciate the seasonal Do You Hear What I Hear. Repeating the message is a way many of us discover a new appreciation for childhood lessons we need to repeat as well as relearn, even those who think they know it all.
This song, written in 1962 was intended as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis, very much like the shadows and fears of today as we approach the same holiday withtrepidation. The 1962 fears were based on clear external issues, however, today’s fears are internal and more sinister. Now our sources for doubts reside closer to home than the Cuban shores.
The original lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker began along the path of the children’s standard Rain, Rain Go Away. The team worked in their hometown of New York City, but the frenetic pace and fear in the air during the crisis drove the married couple to walk the streets in search of inspiration. They found not only a new ballad, but a source for public unity and a desire to avoid war. The challenge to not over commercialize their music resulted in a striking hit as well as a commercial success. However the song was a source credited with the dissolution of the couple’s marriage. Baker stated, “Our little song broke us up. You must realize there was a threat of nuclear war at the time.”
The song was released shortly after Thanksgiving, 1962. It was recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale, a group which also popularized “The Little Drummer Boy.” This song alone sold more than a quarter-million copies during the 1962 holiday season.
The plea for peace in the lyrics found in “Said the night wind to the little lamb, ‘Do you see what I see?’” and “Pray for peace, people everywhere” resonated with those who heard it. However, the creative couple were so moved by their work that they were unable to perform it during the first holiday season. Since 1962, the song has sold tens of millions of copies and been rerecorded by dozens of top artists.
The line, “A star, a star, dancing in the night, With a tail” is believed to be the inspiration for We Are The World (“There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives, it’s true”). Certainly the inspiration helped create a commercial success!
All this said, the fears today are only exaggerated by the voice, tenor and messages echoed by our president elect. The facts are clear that external forces played some role in the November election. The facts also bear out that the president elect has modified his message at every point when his words have been called out for either inaccuracies or outright lies. The reality show mentality keeps the public entertained, but the truths and actions are being obscured by showmanship that is inconsistent with America’s standard of justice. We do not allow foreign intervention of any type into our election process.
When Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham (and others) demand answers to allegation of Russian manipulation of the election, the questions demand answers before we can go forward to certify the results. Fear of the answers cannot hide the facts from the public. Whatever the manipulations and tricks that were perpetrated by any outsiders, the intervention must be disclosed and the results clarified. If there was outside interference, there may be a need to clean up the system in a major way. I don’t pretend to know the ramifications of the interference, but not only must the interference be rectified, our message of independence from outside forces must be clearly understood by all.