We should be doing better

By Tim Wood

I was listening to one of my streaming music stations the other day when P.F. Sloan’s / Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction played. I was 15 when the song came out in 1965 and I remember it well. 

The song went on to become a pop anthem in those turbulent years when protest songs became chic with the U.S. youth, driven by the civil rights movement, anti-war movement and what we called the “women’s lib movement,” meaning “women’s liberation.” I hadn’t heard the song in many years, and it brought back strong memories for me, so I took a few minutes to listen, remember and contemplate. 

First and foremost, by changing a few words, I was shocked at it’s relevance 57 years later in 2022. 

The Eastern world, it is explodin’ 

Violence flairin’, bullets loadin’ 

You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’ 

You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’? And even the Jordon river has bodies floatin’ 

But you tell me over and over and over again my friend 

Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction 

Don’t yo understand what I’m trying to say? 

Can’t you feel the fear I’m feelin’ today? 

If the button is pushed, there’s no running away 

There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave 

Take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy 

But you tell me … 

Yeah, my bloods so mad, feels like coagulatin’ 

I’m sittin’ here just contemplatin’ 

I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation 

Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation 

And marches alone can’t bring integration 

When human respect is disintegratin’ 

This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’ 

But you tell me … 

Think of all the hate there is in Red China 

Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama 

Ah, you may leave here for four days in space 

But when you return, it’s the same old place 

The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace 

You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace 

Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace 

And you tell me…over and over and again … 

We have, since then, gotten a few things right: In July 1971, the 26th Amendment, changing the voting age to 18; the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960 and 1964; establishing the EPA by 1970. 

But as far as what this old song is trying to say, there’s not a whole lot to brag about. We have morphed into dealing with perpetual war, not just armed conflicts and proxie wars. 

Our own Supreme Court is in the process of rolling back hard-earned voting rights and women’s rights. Instead of heroic, fearless astronauts experimenting with space exploration, we have billionaires taking four-day joy rides into space. The above song did not even address our environmental problems, which have now become extreme. 

And sadly enough, our country is indeed divided into ideological extremes not witnessed since the 1960’s, high stepping with many right-wing Christian hypocrisies. 

Actually seeing the raw hate and anger on the faces of protesters today and remembering what I saw on the faces in our conflicts in the 60s, it’s hard for me to believe that we are still arguing about the same conflicts and the same lack of legislation in our present society that is now infiltrated and augmented by lies, deception and decadence. 

Most fearfully, we see the powerful emergence of autocratic growth in leadership that is challenging our liberty, the rule of law and our hard-won democratic freedoms. 

Never in my lifetime did I expect to see so many Americans persuaded to follow a misogynist con artist and support congressional leadership with autocratic values, disrespect for the rule of law and ignorance in proven science and history … I really believed when I was a teenager that I was witnessing a progressive growth here in America that would never look back, and never, more or less, revisit the social upheaval that I witnessed in the 60s, yet, here we are. 

I never would have dreamed we, as a society, would be regressing and fighting, once again, voter suppression, dissolving women’s rights and inflicting violence on ethnic groups and people of color. 

So now, along with Eve of Destruction, I think of and call back some lines from other favorite songs. Jackson Browne’s “I want to know what became of the changes we waited for love to bring, were they only some fitful dream of some greater awakening?” Fred Neil’s “I only know peace will come when all hate is gone.” 

In regard to the earth’s environment, nature always has and always will evolve with the earth. I know for a fact that it is the human species that will die off before our planet dies. We humans are our own worst enemies. We could, and should, be doing better. When will we ever learn? 

Tim and Kristy Wood moved to Beaufort in 1974. He worked as a carpenter in both restoration and new home construction, as well as operating a shop specializing in custom woodwork, Wood on Wood Specs. He is semi-retired, involved with fine woodworking and sits on the City of Beaufort Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Previous Story

USS Gerald R. Ford celebrates Black History Month

Next Story

The moral universe is taking its sweet time 

Latest from Voices


Sometimes message is missed when coming from bully pulpit  BEAUFORT  Two of Beaufort’s top government leaders

Lowcountry Lowdown

By Lolita Huckaby Tropeano introduces himself to County Council BEAUFORT Elvio Tropeano, formerly of Boston and