Two people who attended the 4th of July show at Faurot Field have raised a concern with me over why I chose to perform John Lennon's song, Imagine, at the festivities. I would like to address my decision here, in my blog.
Anyone who knows me even a bit knows that this next statement is absolutely unnecessary, but I will nonetheless say it: "I absolutely did not choose that song to antagonize, offend, or be anti-patriotic!" Quite the opposite, in fact! In college, I not only studied music, but I graduated with my degree in English literature. Any art form, in my opinion, is open to multiple interpretations, be that visual art, poetry, literature, or song lyrics.
One of the things I most strongly feel about Lennon's Imagine, is that it calls us to do exactly what the title implies: IMAGINE the world of which he sings, not take literally the world of which he sings. When Lennon sings "imagine there's no countries" for example, I believe he imagines a world in which divisions between people and the need to fight and kill each other for land ownership would be unnecessary. I won't go into all of the lyrics, because needless to say, each and every line is rendered with the possibility for multiple meanings and I choose the euphemistic interpretations. I consider this a simple and beautiful song about peace, definitely NOT an anti-patriotic song. I have the utmost respect for our troops, I have supported them in more than just my words, for several years, by donating to several military-based causes.
Furthermore, I performed this song in Asia, in countries that America has a history of war with, but with whom we are currently allied. I got chills when Vietnamese, South Koreans, or Japanese audience members started singing along. It was a glimpse, through music, of a possible peace. Like so many others, I too have had family members who served in the military, even during war times. I know there is a need for our strong military men and women, and I respect and honor them for their service – how wonderful it would be if none of them had to march to war ever again.
I believe the finest point that can be gleaned from this song (and the reason I ultimately chose it for performance on July 4th) is that if we could all IMAGINE a world more at peace, we might come a few steps closer to that peaceful world, where war would be null and void, and therefore our friends, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, or parents would not need to fight, and possibly die in a war for ANY cause. I find that a wonderful thing to IMAGINE. Is it realistic? Am I being a Pollyanna? No - I feel that with this song, we get a respite from some of the brutal realities of this world, and imagine something different, even if only for three short minutes.
Thank you for reading this - if you were concerned enough to ask me for my reasons, I hope you will try to understand my point of view.