Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Times They Are a-Changin

You are probably familiar with the Bob Dylan song, The Times They Are a-Changin, well it's been running through my head ever since I heard that Ted Kennedy had died. As I watched the news coverage on almost every channel I turned too, I realized, the Kennedy's are gone. Well and truly gone. For the first time in my life, I won't be expecting to read about them in the newspapers, watch them speak from the floors of the Capital, track them in the tabloids or mimick their style. I'm sad about it. I can remember the Kennedy's as larger than life for as far back as I can recall, news and television coverage of Jackie moving her kids to New York City, Carolyn and JFK going to college, drug scandals, family vacations on Martha's Vineyard, the Presidential campaign of Ted or his winning yet another term in the Senate, JFK Jr.'s love life, magazine career and multiple attempts at passing the NY state bar, the politics of the Kennedy brothers, the legacy of their public and personal lives and the myth of the Kennedy curse. This mythical family has been in the forefront of American culture for so long they've influenced my life in ways I probably don't even realize yet. Back in college I volunteered with Special Olympics after reading about the life of Eunice Kennedy. In my 20's I believed that JFK Jr was the future of the family until he foolishly killed himself and his wife and sister in law in the airplane crash that claimed yet another Kennedy too young. As the children and grandchildren of Joe and Rose Kennedy die so does an era of American history defined by a family that was involved in politics, scandal, style, privilege and public service. I don't know why but Dylan's song sums up the Kennedy's to me.

If you haven't heard Dylan's song lately or don't know the words, here they are:

The Times They Are a-Changin'

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

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