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Graham Nash's Reproachful Refrain for America

PHOTO: Graham Nash, of Crosby Stills and Nash, fears America has been divided into a nation of "haves and have-nothings." Photo credit: Mark Scheerer
PHOTO: Graham Nash, of Crosby Stills and Nash, fears America has been divided into a nation of "haves and have-nothings." Photo credit: Mark Scheerer
August 11, 2014

NEW YORK - "It's time for a revolution," says Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, who fears for an America that's become divided into "haves and have-nothings."

The outspoken musician and activist was in New York talking about some of the views expressed in an autobiography that time-travels back to the 1960s. Back then it was songs about Kent State and the
Chicago Seven.
Today, Nash talks about the Supreme Court declaring corporations "people," a dysfunctional Congress, and income inequality.

"There's a great divide in this country about people that get multimillion-dollar bonuses when their workers are getting 40 times less than they are," Nash said.

The 72-year-old British-born musician, a U.S. citizen since 1978, says he has faith in today's youth to bring about a peaceful revolution. But he says they've got to extract themselves from their mobile devices and become more engaged in the "real world."

Nash thinks it was obvious from the night President Obama was elected that Republicans have no interest in working with him. And he believes that's, in part, due to racism.

"I don't quite understand why the Republicans are so adamantly against Obamacare. Why would they be against millions and millions of people becoming insured? Why would they be against this? They don't want this man to succeed at anything at all," he said.

Songs Nash wrote over 40 years ago, like "Immigration Man" and "Military Madness," are still startlingly immediate in their messages. But, he says, forget about hearing "protest songs" on today's tightly controlled mainstream media.

"They don't want any so-called 'protest songs' on their radio; they don't want it on their airwaves," Nash said. "They just want us to lie down and join in this 'bread and circuses.' We're more interested in Justin Bieber's monkey than we are in Afghanistan. Let's get real here."

"We can change the world" is a line from Nash's 1972 song, "Chicago." He says today, he still hasn't given in to pessimism.

"This is an incredibly great country. Does it have its problems? Of course it does," said Nash. "Does it have its magnificence? Of course it does and I'll take it all. But, I'm lucky to be an American citizen. I get to speak my mind, and nobody has to agree."

Nash gets these and similar thoughts off his chest in his best-selling memoir, Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life, out next month in paperback.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY