History Rhymes

Maybe you’ve noticed, or perhaps you haven’t, that I am behind in my blogging. I could blame it on Post-Covid Syndrome, which is still wreaking havoc with me. However, the truth is, it’s difficult to write in an environment that is just so nasty.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m seeking wisdom, one source to which I turn includes American Musicals. Even though Tom Lehrer has called them a dead art form that is suitable for academic treatment, I find that they often provide hope.

West Side Story, for example, provides drama, humor, romance, and the inevitable tragic end—after all, it’s a 20th century take on Romeo and Juliet. In the original version, the two gangs, the Sharks and the Jets are squaring off for a fight, but instead of beating the snot out of one another, they break into song and dance, and all to Leonard Bernstein’s music.

But today, I turn to 1776, the musical based on the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The first musical number introduces John Adams by the rest of the delegates singing, “Sit down, John! [For God’s sake John, sit down!].

John leaves, and sings a plea to the Almighty. The words may be as applicable today as they would have been during the Revolution.

I do believe you’ve laid a curse on
North America
A curse that we here now rehearse in
Philadelphia

A second flood, a simple famine
Plagues of locusts everywhere
Or a cataclysmic earthquake
I’d accept with some despair

But no, you sent us Congress
Good God, sir, was that fair?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.