In ’68

Let’s mark this date together, lest it pass us by
Let’s recall a moment when the powder keg ran dry
When all across the USA cities turned to embers
Anybody old enough vividly remembers
Everything that happened on that date Fifty years ago in ’68

Carpet bombing of the city of Hanoi
Barely two decades after Little Boy
Draft cards burning, police stations on fire
The powers-that-be down to the wire
The naked emperor was the normative state

Both ruling parties were exposed, the question of the day
Mr President how many kids did you kill today
If we try to draft more soldiers, said the general, I can’t guarantee
That we could maintain domestic tranquility
A society on the brink, the possibilities so great

It was a time when people everywhere were rising from their knees
Just outside the halls of power, throughout the colonies
From Oakland to Algiers, from Saigon to Paris
Structures laid bare for all to see
The use of force alone will not determine our fate

Soldiers were kept in barracks lest they figure out the score
That love really can be more powerful than war
The ruling class tried desperately to gain the upper hand
Faced with a society they didn’t understand
They just about got stuck beneath the historical weight

Anyone in power now knows it might not last
At least if they look back to the fairly recent past
When the consent of the governed was for a time withdrawn
When empires were challenged and some of them were gone
When the movement was global and liberation was its freight