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Hook, Line and Sinker

By Tony Hooker
I see trees of green

Red roses too

I see them bloom

For me and you

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

Written in 1968 by George Douglas and Bob Thiele, and immortalized by the great Louis Armstrong, What a Wonderful World stood in stark contrast to a world in turmoil.  

On Jan 5 in Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek was elected as the first secretary of the country’s Communist Party over the Stalinist Antonin Novotny, a victory that marked a brief period of liberalization and reform known as the Prague Spring. Of course, spring turned to winter in August, when the Soviets invaded and reinstalled hardline communist rule.

On January 30 and 31, the VietCong launched what later came to be known as the Tet offensive, a surprise attack that many consider the turning point of the war in Viet Nam.  

April 4 saw the assassination of Martin Luther King.  His assassination led to a period of civil unrest unlike any seen in America since the civil war.  His tragic death led to the passing of the Fair Housing Act.

On June 5, Robert Kennedy, who had won the California primary that day and looked to be the favorite to be the democratic candidate for president, was assassinated outside the Ambassador Hotel.  His death led to the ascendance of Hubert Humphrey as the most likely candidate.  Humphrey’s support of Johnson’s VietNam policies led to an outpouring of protest in August in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention.  

In November, Richard Nixon won the presidential election over Humphrey and third-party candidate George Wallace, thus ending what is widely considered the most tumultuous year in American history…

I see skies of blue

And clouds of white

The bright blessed day

The dark sacred night

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

…Until 2020, that is.  According to Wikipedia, in January, two days after Iraqi militiamen and protestors attacked the US embassy in Baghdad, President Trump approved the targeted killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al Muhandis.   It seems so long ago, doesn’t it?

On January 21, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the US was reported by the CDC.

Over the course of the next several months, the US economy takes a huge hit as millions are forced to file for unemployment benefits, oil prices plummet, and the stock market sees record drops in value.  

On March 20, a nation under quarantine and starving for entertainment, became enthralled with the antics of the Tiger King.  

On May 3, it was announced that the US was facing an invasion of Asian Giant Hornets, otherwise known as “Murder Hornets”, which are a threat to the nation’s already threatened Bee population. 

May 25, George Floyd is killed by a Minneapolis police officer, sparking riots that continue to embroil the nation’s cities. 

On June 8, protestors in Seattle declared an area of downtown to be an autonomous zone.

On June 12, protestors in Nashville followed suit, declaring an autonomous zone on the grounds of the capitol.  

July 12, The USS Bonhomme Richard is struck by a serious fire, injuring 36 sailors and 23 civilian employees.  

The colors of the rainbow

So pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces

Of people going by

I see friends shaking hands

Saying, “How do you do?”

They’re really saying

“I love you”

Like in 1968, America is undergoing a struggle of epic proportions.   Also like 1968, it’s still a pretty awesome place, blessed with freedom and opportunities that are unknown in most other parts of the world.  

I hear babies cry

I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more

Then I’ll never know

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

Indeed. We’ll get through this.

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