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with god on our side

by mg at 12:58 PM on September 14, 2001

Just watched the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance service from the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

I am not what anyone would call a religious person, but Iíll admit that I was deeply moved several times. They had representatives of various Christian, Jewish and Moslem churches speak, and they all had much to offer in the way of solace. Nothing, surely, can make America feel better at this point, but seeing the people of various religions, and political persuasions prey and sit together with a singular intention is certainly a step in the healing process.

As much as the service made me feel better (better isnít the right word, because I donít feel better, nor safer, nor less confused, but I will make do since I canít find the right word to express exactly how I feel now), all I could think of was Bob Dylan. For some reason, Bob Dylan has seemed very appropriate the last couple days.

Watching Billy Graham and all those other holy men and women up there today made me think, more than anything, of one song in particular. Make your own minds up as to why, because I really canít say why.

With God on our Side by Bob Dylan

(From The Times They Are A-Changin' (1964)

Oh my name it is nothin'

My age it means less

The country I come from

Is called the Midwest

I's taught and brought up there

The laws to abide

And that land that I live in

Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it

They tell it so well

The cavalries charged

The Indians fell

The cavalries charged

The Indians died

Oh the country was young

With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American

War had its day

And the Civil War too

Was soon laid away

And the names of the heroes

I's made to memorize

With guns in their hands

And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys

It closed out its fate

The reason for fighting

I never got straight

But I learned to accept it

Accept it with pride

For you don't count the dead

When God's on your side.

When the Second World War

Came to an end

We forgave the Germans

And we were friends

Though they murdered six million

In the ovens they fried

The Germans now too

Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate Russians

All through my whole life

If another war starts

It's them we must fight

To hate them and fear them

To run and to hide

And accept it all bravely

With God on my side.

But now we got weapons

Of the chemical dust

If fire them we're forced to

Then fire them we must

One push of the button

And a shot the world wide

And you never ask questions

When God's on your side.

In a many dark hour

I've been thinkin' about this

That Jesus Christ

Was betrayed by a kiss

But I can't think for you

You'll have to decide

Whether Judas Iscariot

Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'

I'm weary as Hell

The confusion I'm feelin'

Ain't no tongue can tell

The words fill my head

And fall to the floor

If God's on our side

He'll stop the next war.

comments (5)

I'm sorry if this is inappropriate but -- what this reminds me of is a Dennis Miller rant in which he's talking about professional sports (before he became a commentator himself), when they're interviewing the winning team in the locker room and they always say, ĎGod was on our sideí, and he said he'd like to see the losing team do the same type of thing, ĎWe would have won but Jesus made me fumble. Jesus hates us.í

It was better when Dennis said it.

by kd at September 14, 2001 6:12 PM

For you MG it was Bob, for me on my site, it was Bruce Springsteen. Ironic, they are both from NY... or at least live in that area. But it also goes to prove the fact that music sooths our souls....(maybe where we cannot "find" God to do so?) I dunno...this is something that is going to take all of us some time....and even then, I am not sure that we will ever get "over" it or ever be the same people we were before Sept. 11th!

by Pristine at September 14, 2001 6:17 PM

As I was waiting for the bus today, I sang to myself, softly, another Dylan song...

"A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall"


by Tom at September 14, 2001 7:29 PM

It's an antiwar Vietnam song, so I suppose it makes sense :) My Mom used to sing this to me as a kid, playing her guitar. So reading this brought a little tear to my eye.

I've been listening to a lot of Leonard Cohen. I guess he's Canadian, not American . . .but good stuff.

(it just occured to me that a case could be made L.C. is the Bob Dylan of Canada?)

by Charles at September 14, 2001 7:50 PM

This brings to mind Leonard Cohen's "Democracy." Forgive me if I botch the link:


by Jean at September 14, 2001 8:12 PM

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