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American Tune

By       Message Todd Huffman, M.D.     Permalink
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American Tune

"Many is the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home.

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
But it's all right, it's all right
We've lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong.

And I dreamed I was dying.
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
Looking back down at me
Smiling assuringly.
And I dreamed I was flying.
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying.

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
And sing an American Tune.
But it's all right, it's all right
You can't be forever blessed.
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest.
That's all I'm trying, to get some rest."

-Paul Simon
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Though normally a prolific writer on all sorts of topics ranging from medical to political written for various newspapers and publications throughout the Pacific Northwest, my pen and keyboard have for several months fallen silent. Having become both overwhelmed by "what's gone wrong" and resigned to the futility of writing, during this time I've found great comfort in this song, as I hope some of you might as well.

I'm certain that I'm not the only American who feels, like Paul, "so far away from home", a native expatriate, a foreigner in my own country. I'm certain that it is not just Paul and I who see the Statue of Liberty sailing away to sea. The funny thing is, I think you and I (and Paul) are really the majority, albeit a largely silent one.

Thanks to the urging of many friends and acquaintances, I've begun to write again. I've come to realize that when the idealists among us drop out or tune out, those in power gain even more power. And I refuse to let that happen.

It is today "the age's most uncertain hour", and you and I must do what we can, where we are, now to seize history and turn it another direction. We must unite, and let our unity ignite. If we don't do it now, when might we do it? And if we don't do it at all, what are we saying? What have we decided?

Martin Luther King spoke of the "fierce urgency of now". If we continue to hold back each day until it dies away, then now becomes later, and later becomes too late.

Do what you can, where you are, now. It is the age's most uncertain hour.
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Todd Huffman is a pediatrician and writer living in Eugene, Oregon. He is a regular contributor to many newspapers and publications throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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