Sunday, June 30, 2013

"I'd Love to Change the World"

Everywhere is freaks and hairies
Dykes and fairies, tell me where is sanity
Tax the rich, feed the poor
Till there are no rich no more

I'd love to change the world
But I don't know what to do
So I'll leave it up to you

Population keeps on breeding
Nation bleeding, still more feeding economy
Life is funny, skies are sunny
Bees make honey, who needs money, monopoly


World pollution, there's no solution
Institution, electrocution
Just black and white, rich or poor
Them and us, stop the war

Alvin Lee - I'd Love to Change the World

I’ve always enjoyed this song.  It’s one of those songs I can listen to over and over…and have.  But I’ve never been crazy about all the lyrics.  I’m not sure if they’re meant to be ironic or just one person’s point of view.  I also wonder if Alvin Lee ever looked at them and wished he had changed them.  (Probably not.)
Here’s how I would change the lyrics.   Then I’ll explain why.

Everywhere is creeps and crazies
Liars and lazies, tell me, where is sanity?

I took out “freaks and hairies” because I thought most young people in that time wore long hair and they were called freaks and hairies, including the performers of this song, the group Ten Years After.  Like many fashions, long hair was worn only by those in the counterculture, but by the early 1970’s, most kids had long hair, so it stopped being revolutionary or rebellious after a while.  In fact, like many things that were novel and new, it soon became the norm.
I also don’t care for the terms “dikes and fairies.”  That seems too derogatory.  That’s all I’ll say about that.
It’s the chorus that bothers me the most. 
I'd love to change the world
But I don't know what to do
So I'll leave it up to you

            To use a phrase from the 70’s, “That’s a cop-out, man!”  If we see a problem and complain about it, while waiting for someone else to fix it, then we are part of the problem.  Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Here’s how I’d change those lyrics:
I'd love to change the world
So I’ll find out what to do
But I’ll need some help from you

I will admit that sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the problems and causes in the world.  Every day I get mail and e-mails asking me to help out with a cause.   I don’t doubt the worthiness of any of these causes; it’s just that I can only do so much.  How much?  I don’t know.  And I’m not going to list the things I’ve done or the causes I support.  I’m sure I’ve helped a bit and I’m sure I can do more.  I’m fortunate to have a job and skills that help people.  And I’m fortunate that I can set aside some money each month to give to others.
Am I changing the world?  Yes and no.  I believe every little bit helps.  I’m proud to say Americans are doing more than just a little bit.  According to, Americans gave over $295 billion in charitable giving, the greatest amount in the world.  Even if that were reduced by 10% because of a troubled economy, it’s still over $260 billion.  So we are changing the world.  We do know what to do, at least when it comes to giving our money.
In addition, despite a decline the average American volunteers one hour a week.
Volunteers spent a median of 50 hours on volunteer activities during the period from September 2011 to September 2012. Time spent on volunteer activities was similar for women and men. Median annual hours spent on volunteer activities ranged from a low of 32 hours for those 25 to 34 years old to a high of 90 hours for volunteers age 65 and over.

(Many Americans and people from all over the world also adopt children and animals, much more significant forms of giving.)
So how do we change the world?  I see at least two ways:
1.              First recognize all that is good in the world and all the good that is being done in the world.
2.              When you see something that you think needs to change, do whatever you can to change it.  Volunteer.  Give some money.  Do your job well.  Pursue a career that will enable you to make the changes you want to see.  Get help with it. 
I don’t know if I can change the world.  Maybe I can.  I know that I can change my part of the world.  All I need to do is to Get Started and Keep Going…but I need some help from you.