“What we’re thinking about is a peaceful planet. We’re not thinking about anything else. We’re not thinking about any kind of power. We’re not thinking about any kind of struggles. We’re not thinking about revolution or war or any of that. That’s not what we want. Nobody wants to get hurt. Nobody wants to hurt anybody. We would all like to be able to live an uncluttered life. A simple life, a good life. And think about moving the whole human race ahead a step, or a few steps.”

~Jerry Garcia

In my life I’ve traveled around the world three and a half times. I’ve had the pleasure of not just visiting third world countries, but living in them as well. I’ve also had the displeasure of seeing the atrocity of civil war first hand. The image that always lingers in my mind, is the look in someone’s eyes that has lost hope.

It’s easy to lose everything you own, it’s just stuff. You know in your heart that when the dust settles, you will begin anew. You will replace everything that was lost. Now imagine losing it all again, and again, and again. Then imagine losing your family, your loved ones. Perhaps you lose a child, a mother, father, sister or brother. Even worse, maybe you have to defend your life from your very own sibling. After a while, you lose hope. You lose the entire thought that maybe tomorrow still holds the promise of a new day, a better day, that indeed there is still hope.

In light of recent events, the Paris bombings and the reactionary vitriol and bigotry displayed towards the displaced Syrian Civil War refugees, I felt the need to offer up my thoughts. There is little in this world more worrisome to me than watching people in my community be at odds over compassion. Compassion knows no borders, no culture, no ethnicity, no religion, no species, it is a deep sympathy for the suffering of another living being. With that sympathy should come the want, the need to support those suffering by way of offering some sort of respite, some sort of refuge, some sort of hope.

In a community that preaches the ideals of art, culture, peace and love, I am dismayed and taken aback by the thoughts of so many of my brothers and sisters. The concept of wearing a tie dye and stealie while extolling the virtues of an isolationist policy toward Syrian refugees is absurd. It is like waving an American flag and asking for communism. Turning away refugees is not an act of love, it is not an act of peace, it is not an act of the compassionate.

This morning, after breakfast, like every morning, I checked the news. It is a custom mix of serious news journals mixed with art and culture media outlets. The most saddening aspect was the amount of stories I’d seen of American bigotry inflicted on other Americans, who happened to either be Muslim, or look Muslim. All the while I’m sure that their attackers would reiterate the oft repeated nonsense that “America is a Christian nation”. Pardon me if I feel there is fundamental dichotomy in these actions and the supposed Christian principles of our nation. Let me beat you while extolling the virtues of my Jesus!

I have not taken to song often in the last seven or eight years, but I was compelled to do just that. I hope that what I have written is something that will resonate within all of you who are reading this and that you not just read it, but share it and carry it with you in this time of national discourse. Love, it’s an action word, get busy.

A song for the refugees

Your heaven won’t take me

and that’s because maybe
Your heaven isn’t real at all.

When the walls of your home came down
And all of your family gathered round
Not even your baby made a sound
And the soldiers began to gun you down
You tried to flee

Walked so many days in the sun
Your new life spent on the run
Wondering when this will all be done
Going where there’s no more guns
Why can’t people see

All this history has a way
Of keeping love out of the way
Even though all Gods say
That loving your brother is the only way
Yet we still have to flee

Everyone screaming drop the bomb
It’s all the same old dance and song
Even though we killed Jihadi John
Every Muslim we’ll put the blame on
We have no room for you refugees

Your heaven won’t take me
And that’s because maybe
Your heaven isn’t real at all