Last week I attended a concert featuring Jackson Browne and James Taylor. Wow! It was medicine for my aching soul.
For a half century, Jackson Browne has been my favorite songwriter, singer, poet and philosopher. Accompanied by a legion of great backup singers, guitarists, drummer, keyboardist and more, Browne sang many songs from the past, including Doctor my Eyes, one of my all-time favorites. His brilliance saturated every neuron in my brain as I sang along with him (not loudly, mind you); my head exploded with wonderment.
As the last chord brought my awe to the end, I experienced an epiphany. I finally understood what Jackson was saying. I have chosen share it with you because we should all listen to and understand his profound message. Why? Even as I write this piece, I am listening to it. Because his message paves the road to saving our unique democracy from the attacks the evil nihilistic trolls and culture cancelers bombard us with daily.
Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand
I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can
Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?
‘Cause I have wandered through this world
And as each moment has unfurled
I’ve been waiting to awaken from these dreams
People go just where they will
I never noticed them until I got this feeling
That it’s later than it seems
Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what you see
I hear their cries
Just say if it’s too late for me
Doctor, my eyes
They cannot see the sky
Is this the prize
For having learned how not to cry?
Browne has identified “The Doctor” for me: it is the Doctor of Truth. The greatest contribution to our union, now under vicious attacks from the denizens of LiarLand, is that a true patriot should stand tall and sing The Doctor’s truth. Sing it loud; sing it long, and sing it with pride.
The Bible tells us that Truth will set us free; I am not so sure of this, but it damn well will contribute to the salvation of the great American dream.
Many of the greatest minds of humankind’s history have given us sage advice about Truth. We should listen to them, praise them, follow their counsel. I quote them here, in order of date of birth, for they can put to word messages with far greater ability than I. Pick your favorite(s) and pay them heed.
Aristotle (384-322 BCE): “Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is Truth.”
John Milton (1608-1674): “Though all the winds of doctrine let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; whoever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter.”
John Locke (1632-1704): “It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth.”
Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke (1678-1751): “They make truth serve as a stalking-horse to error.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862): “More than love, than money, than fame, give me Truth.”
Mark Twain (1835-1910): “Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.”
Bertrand Russell (1872- 1970): “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe in something; in the absence of good grounds of belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.”
Georges Braque (1882- 1963): “Truth exists; only lies are invented.”
Peter Medawar (1915- 1987): “If it were an innocent, passive gullibility it would be excusable; but all too clearly, alas, it is an active willingness to be deceived.”
Music is my poetry. Many insightful and great messages are imbedded in song, which is why I so often quote song lyrics in my writing.
We should reflect on the great messages of the brilliance from our past, as well as the wisdom of Jackson Browne that I share with you here.
Faith or beliefs are too often not based on truth, but true believers remain steadfast in their “Faith.” Let that unwavering belief be in the Truth. It will save you and our precious democracy. Truth is the only elixir that we possess that will heal the wounds now being inflicted on the soul of our nation.
“Well, all I know is what I read in the newspapers.” – Will Rogers.
David M. Taub was Mayor of Beaufort from 1990 through 1999 and served as a Beaufort County Magistrate from 2010 to 2015. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.