When Elton John's single, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" raced to the top of the pop charts in 1973-4, along with his double-album of the same name, America was in crisis and everyone was questioning the promises wrapped up in the words, "American Dream." Here's a link to John's performance of the song some years later. Listen to it. Think about it. Then return to this post. Ah, but before you do, let me give you a little background as to why it was so personal to Elton John and the poet behind the words, Bernie Taupin. At the time they collaborated on the song, they were the most famous pop songwriters in the world. They had gone from their 1969 appearance at the Troubadour in LA to "Your Song" in 1970 and to multi-platinum, super-rich rockstars practically overnight! Elton John replaced the Beatles as the UK's arena-only popstar in any state he played. But behind that scene, Elton was strung out on drugs and alcohol...a familiar path and lifestyle that seems to be true for so many. So, when he had sung, "When are you gonna come down, when are you going to land, I should have stayed on the farm, I should have listened to my old man," Bernie meant it and Elton was for real.
We're living at a time such as the mid-'70s now, too. The Wuhan Virus has killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, and more than thirty thousand in the U.S.
I hope that people will examine their priorities and volunteer to land their ships in the service of their fellow man. While, I MUST add, preserving the foundations of the greatest country ever founded in the world. That means, respecting the US Constitution in its original and timeless meaning and purpose. That means exporting the values and model the Constitution and Bill of Rights provides to any country in the world willing to go through the arduous process of adapting to it.
America has big flaws because humans are flawed. Pride is their number one enemy. Personal pride leads to institutional pride. It masks reality and urges us in ambitious, but foolish, directions. That's what has led to the world disaster we are facing today, except it started with China. Pride is not affected by political or social philosophy. Pride tops the seven deadly sins for a reason! China's ambition did not cause the Wuhan Virus disaster. The cover-up did! It could have stopped in Wuhan if China had allowed it to stop there. But the evidence is mounting that they were most interested in stopping its spread in China while not being too concerned about it escaping to other countries. Why? We may never fully know the answer to that since so many of the scientists, doctors, and journalists in Wuhan are missing (probably dead). So, pride. Ambition cannot be slowed, much less derailed when pride is driving the train. Unless disaster strikes and people are honest, all that we will see is the ruins.
Our current disaster is not as simple as understanding why rockstars get hooked into a social scene that often destroys their health and lives. But the Yellow Brick Road Lesson is that we can recognize when we've gone too far and reverse course for the sake of ourselves and the world watching. Unfortunately, if China is not willing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and admit its political and economic system cannot lead the world into the future, the world will not learn and grow from their foolishness.
Growth is the objective. America and the rest of the world will be forever changed due to the Wuhan Virus. The question is will it be able to recognize and reverse course from the Yellow Brick Road mentality that leads to excess and a loss of touch with the real world all around them?