In the late 1950’s, Pete Seeger put words and music to a theme that became a voice for a nation struggling its way toward peace, justice and integrity.
“Where,” he sang, “have all the flowers gone?”
That may very well be an even more fitting theme today as a divided and fear ridden nation struggles once more to find its heart and soul.The question now is can we find once again the music that gave voice to the ideals of youth, and more importantly,find the leaders who will hear our ideals and desire for a democracy that does represent and respond to the needs of all of us. As we enter the final stretch of a negative, rancorous, hate filled run for the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth, the question that confronts us, echoing Pete Seeger’s refrain, is “where have all the leaders gone?”
Where are they, while blasting away at the faults of others?
Where are the leaders who are addressing the fact that 20% of our nation’s children go to bed hungry at night?
Where are the leaders who value justice enough to cry out for a national dialogue to resolve the heated racial, ethnic and gender disparities that are tearing us apart.
Where are the leaders we need who will risk political backlash in a courageous step forward to stem the epidemic of killing and challenge owners, manufactures, dealers and lobbyists of the weapons industry to remember that more guns will not protect us from poverty,guarantee justice, provide a stable and living wage, educate our children or provide safe water to drink.
Where are the leaders who will strongly support basic scientific research that will improve our environment, advance medical care and find answers for both young and old whose minds are confounded by altered thinking and lost memories.
Where are the leaders who both value and support the notion that health care is a basic right and that the strongest nation on earth should make sure all its citizens have access to the medical care they need.
Where indeed, have all the leaders gone?
Will we see our hopes realized by leaders who will re-sahpe the dialogue and turn ridicule to respect and speak loudly that democracy means everyone is welcome at the table?
In a distinctly negative and fearful season, it is time once again for words and music to emerge from the very heart of our existence and sing loudly and clearly “all over this land” that we do believe the leaders are there, willing to risk power and fame to declare justice, respect, equality and hope for all.
They are there, waiting.
It is time they heard the music and become, what they were destined to be, the leaders for whom we no longer search.
Now however, we too wait and hope and wonder. “where have all the leaders gone?”