Open Poem to Bob Dylan: where have all the protest songs gone?
Every minute of every day of every week of every year since Trump has been elected has been a tragedy for our nation and our world. Some embarrassing statement. Some racist tweet. Some abominable policy. Constant lies. Complete ignorance. Ignorance and hate (you can't have one without the other, it seems).
Many people compare Trump to Nixon, the many instances of Trump obstructing justice to the Watergate cover-up. The calls for impeachment bring memories of the entire Nixon era alive. Which gets me to wonder: Where have all the protest songs gone?
After all, protest songs were a staple of the Vietnam-stained LBJ and Nixon years. Why have our poets and minstrels been so quiet in the face of Trump's atrocities? Now I know that Bob Dylan's music goes well beyond the protest genre and era, but whether he asked for it or not, he was the moral political voice of the civil rights/Vietnam era. We need someone to speak out. Why not him? So here's my open poem to Bob Dylan, asking him to get off the sidelines and get back in the game.
An Open Poem to Bob Dylan
By Jason M. Rubin
Hey Bob Dylan, look around
See all this crap that’s going down?
In the White House is an orange clown
And yet your voice cannot be found
Hey Bob Dylan, your last album was pop
But there’s a madman we need to stop
There’s no salvation in the record shop
A new revolution has got to drop
Hey Bob Dylan, you gotta lotta nerve
You think this is the leader that we deserve?
We’re speeding down dead man’s curve
From your current path it’s time to swerve
Hey Bob Dylan, here’s a surprise
Put away your Nobel Prize
Rip off your detached disguise
Give us some words we can memorize
Hey Bob Dylan, we need you agin
What’s that blowing in the wind?
Those in charge are those who have sinned
The rest are taking it on the chin
Hey Bob Dylan, so long you have traveled
But now your path is starting to unravel
Time to raise again your voice of gravel
And hammer down your inciteful gavel
Hey Bob Dylan, the hard rain is falling
Can’t you hear your old fans calling?
Can’t you see this is all so appalling?
All of our problems are quickly snowballing
Hey Bob Dylan, we’re feeling alone
In public discourse there’s an ominous tone
Pick up your mouth harp, like a rolling stone
We need you to bring it all back home
Hey Bob Dylan, how does it feel
I ask you again, how does it feel
It’s time to take charge, it’s time to get real
It’s time to shuffle your cards and deal
Hey Bob Dylan, you reap what you sow
And now we’re all on Desolation Row
You can no longer just go with the flow
Those who are high must be brought low
Hey Bob Dylan, all I really want to do
Is to get you tangled up in blue
I don’t care whether you’re a Christian or a Jew
Just sing me some words that are true
Hey Bob Dylan, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there are people who aren’t free
Please won’t you heed my urgent plea
Seize my mind, touch my heart, take a knee
Hey Bob Dylan, you gotta serve somebody, that’s true
Can’t you see that what’s old is new?
You have to lead us, we’re depending on you
Or it’ll be all over now, baby blue