Don’t They Know It’s the End of the World?


2017-01-19 – Often when I’m feeling blue, a song from the past starts playing in my head. Today, on the eve of Donald Trump’s Inauguration as President of the United States, the song is “The End of the World” sung by Skeeter Davis in 1962. (You can listen to the song here.)

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
If you don’t love me anymore.

Why do the birds go on singing?
Why do the stars glow above?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when I lost your love.

I wake up in the morning and I wonder.
Why everything is the same as it was.
And I can’t understand,
No I can’t understand Why life goes on the way it does. . . .

Okay, so we’re in a political crisis. It’s not the same as lost love. Or is it? Maybe that’s why the song feels right. Don’t they know it’s the end of the world? But life goes on the way it does.

In his farewell address, my president Barack Obama spoke of hope. And in his final press conference, he had the following to say about how he and Michelle have talked about the recent election to their daughters:

[W]hat we’ve also tried to teach them is resilience, and we’ve tried to teach them hope, and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.  And so you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off, and you get back to work.

The world goes on. Hope is not based on what Barack Obama does or what Donald Trump does or what Congress does or what the Supreme Court does. It is based on what we all do. I’ve seen the hope . . . on the Internet, of course—but also in person. People are fired up. Donald Trump may bring in change, but he could be surprised at the kind of change—because that’s up to us.

As I was walking the dog this morning “listening” to Skeeter Davis’ song in my head, another song came to mind. It’s kinda the flip side of Skeeter Davis’ story. It originally comes from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man,” a Broadway musical (later a movie) about a huckster salesman who comes to town to bilk the townspeople of their money—but he falls in love and does right by them in the end. The version of the song I like best is the Beatles cover. It’s called “Till There Was You.”

There were bells on a hill
But I never heard them ringing
No, I never heard them at all
Till there was you

There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging
No, I never saw them at all
Till there was you.

Till there was you.

(I know this is sappy, but sometimes we need to pay attention to sappy. And go up to the link from Barack Obama’s last press conference to read his full remarks. Heck. Here’s the link again.)

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