Fifty Years Ago
Did you see the special about the Beatles? It was fifty years ago that they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The retrospective was entertaining with lots of good music, but I was most fascinated by the scenes of life in 1964. The Beatles in their suits and ties….young girls at the Ed Sullivan show in dresses and done-up hair. Wow – it sure was different back then.
I cam across this essay from The Federalist that truly expresses where we are today: Here’s What Money Can Buy American Society Here’s an excerpt:
Say you don’t need no diamond rings
And I’ll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of things
That money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money
Money can’t buy me love
As pop culture legend has it, the British reinvaded American soil fifty years ago this week. But instead of propelling modern-day Paul Reveres to sound the alarm throughout the American countryside, the British invaders, the Beatles, were met with teenage female screams and a television audience of Super Bowl proportions on The Ed Sullivan Show. The outpouring of love for the band led many to suggest that they were the perfect remedy for a nation mourning the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Beatlemania grew through the Spring of 1964 with their release of “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which jumped to the top of the charts in record fashion, leaving the band with the top five Billboard singles (a first in music history). The Beatles’ song on the things money can and cannot buy was a mainstay on American radio waves as President Lyndon B. Johnson charted a new course for the country in speeches at Ohio University (May 4, 1964) and the University of Michigan (May 22, 1964)–putting money and power in the service of national greatness:
For a century we labored to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people. The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization. Your imagination and your initiative and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.
For LBJ and progressive elites, the next chapter in the American story amounted to employing national wealth and political might in the service of greatness that could only be achieved if all Americans partook in the American dream. National efforts would not so much amount to producing more wealth and power as checking “unbridled” growth, presumably induced more by a spirit of “indignation” than “imagination” or “initiative.” American power and wealth would take the nation only so far; a moral reckoning of who gets what, when, and how was what the country needed in its next half-century. But one wonders whether employing the nation’s wealth and power as envisioned in LBJ’s speech spread more love or indignance moving forward.
Be sure to read the whole thing – good stuff!!
Another milestone fifty years ago today – Happy Birthday Sarah Palin! Great video message to Governor Palin 🙂
God Bless America – Pass This On!