“Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
why must we go on hating, why can't we live in bliss
'cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
oh peace train take this country, come take me home again”(1)
----Cat Stevens, “Peace Train” 1968
As the clouds and winds gather in what is becoming a 'perfect storm', the nation reels as it tries to find it's bearings. The Commerce Department released numbers showing that the Holiday season was the worst for American Business since the dark days of Richard Nixon. Consumer spending dropped 2.7% in December and the economy shed another 530,000 jobs. The value of GM stock has dropped to it's lowest level since before I was born wiping out a generation of wealth. What is left of domestic manufacturers is breaking under the strain. Yesterday the Bank of America posted a quarterly loss of 2.3 billion and was saved from imminent collapse, albeit momentarily, by the federal TARP or bail-out money. Circuit City has announced that it is closing all if its over 500 stores and is going out of business, forcing an additional 34,000 people into the streets. Unemployment in Michigan, even by ridiculously conservative federal measurement, now stands at over 10 %; the real numbers are probably half again as high. New claims for unemployment are now inundating the system, so great is the crush that the computer systems in several states, South Carolina among them, have crashed. With the nation mired in two endless wars and, as the American and, increasingly, the world economic order teeters on the verge of collapse, the nation turns it's worried eyes to the incoming administration.
“Get your bags together, go bring your good friends too
'Cause it's getting nearer, it soon will be with you
Now come and join the living, its not so far from you
and its getting nearer, it soon will all be true” (1)
Out on the edge of darkness there rides a peace train. As I write it is T-minus 71 hours and 54 minutes till Barack Obama takes the oath of office and swears to faithfully execute the laws and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
As I speak he is, as Lincoln before him, aboard a train—in this instance the 2009 Inaugural Train-- winding his way through Pennsylvania toward the Nation's Capitol. Rivers of blood, years of darkness have been the measure of our time. Out of the darkness comes a bright new morning.
“Now I've been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come
and I believe it could be, something good has begun
Oh I've been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one
and I believe it could be, some day its going to come
'Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
oh peace train save this country, come take me home again.” (1)