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Times like these

By Jeremy Reynalds
web posted October 8, 2001

They've been described as "America's Band" a super group of the late 1960's and early 1970's which according to the group's web site, "seemed forever enmeshed in the politics and the most trying events of its era."

"They" are the classic rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash who according to their promotional material have spent their time "Creating songs that represented the hopes and disappointments of a generation. (This) never seemed so much an act of what they did for a living as much as who they were in their lives."

CSN during a recent show
CSN during a recent show

The group's web site hyperbole continued. "Whether boldly confronting the political atrocities of Kent State University with the song 'Ohio' or grieving the assassination of Bobby Kennedy with 'Long Time Gone,' Crosby, Stills and Nash was on a road that would not only find them a home in the Rock 'n' Roll hall of fame, but a permanent home in the hearts of millions of not just Americans, but people worldwide."

In a 1996 interview with the San Jose Mercury News, the band's Graham Nash said he knows why people of all ages keep returning for more CSN concerts.

Nash explained, "It's very obvious we're not Brad Pitts up there. So what is bringing these people back constantly to see us? It can only be the music. The only important thing about us is the ability to do uniquely what we do."

Nash told the News that the group has a special relationship with its audience."They relate so easily to us as guys who have made mistakes, as creative musicians, as reflectors of our times and of their lives."

Well, we'll see if that "special relationship" continues, following Nash's recent venomous outburst about President George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attack.

In an interview published on the group's web site, Nash pontificated about Bush. "I don't think George Bush can put two sentences together. I think the man is a moron. I think the man is a dangerous person. I think he is as he says, a loving guy, but he's just not bright enough to be the head of this country. Absolutely not when you compare him to Colin Powell who is eloquent and elegant and listens and does not... you know speak forth in cue-card replies. I mean this is insane and I think that his father wanted a new world order and unfortunately this situation is providing them with a perfect excuse to create a new world order."

Now if you're a little bit hot under the collar after reading that, don't worry. Nash wants you to know that "regardless of (the band's) individual madnesses ... we've always tried to comfort people in times of adversity, we've always tried to ... make them feel like they're not as crazy as other people are telling them and they're not as alone as other people are telling them. We have tried to be there for our people and we will continue to do so."

Well as you saw earlier, the only thing that Nash feels he and the other members of CSN have to offer audiences is the band's music, so presumably when Nash says that the band has "tried to be there for our people," he means musically "there."

With that in mind, you may be interested to see how Nash describes the group's music. "We've always used our music ... in lieu of paying a psychiatrist to talk to because we talk to ourselves internally all the time and probably saved ourselves millions of dollars in psychiatric bills."

All of this self-revelation from a man who thinks our president is a "moron" and a "dangerous person" is really comforting. I've always needed someone like Nash to be "there" for me!

After researching Nash and his band, I wondered what sort of people the discussion board on the CSN web site was attracting and what if anything they thought about Nash's comments? I was quite surprised. Far from a blanket endorsement of what Nash said, one forum member wrote, "Graham should not be calling George W. Bush a moron. Graham is a moron for saying this and I intend to publicized his statement and allow him to explain what he meant to the public. None of these guys are educated enough to have an intelligent opinion on the subject."

However, the forum moderator opined that "Nash is not the only one who questions the intellectual capacity as well as the degree of understanding that Mr. Bush has (or does not have, in this case). Most of the people I know who ARE very knowledgeable about foreign and general government policy have little faith in Bush ... Most of what he appears to say sounds as if he's reading it off a cue card without having any chance to ABSORB what it is 'he's' allegedly saying."

However, another forum member put the whole issue in perspective when she wrote that a man's character is much more important than the way he talks. She commented, "Clinton was the smooth talker and sounded quite impressive, he even lied to the American people quite convincingly too. It's really a shame how so many are fooled by outward appearances and take little stock in what's in a person's heart. Thank God that George Bush has brought integrity to the presidential office."

It's fortunate that the acerbic Graham Nash doesn't represent a majority of the citizens in our great land. Like me, they approve of what Mr. Bush is doing. Take the comments of a priest at the National Cathedral, who told Newsweek that George W. Bush had become "'our George,'" the designated dragon slayer, a boyish knight in a helmet of graying hair.

But as Newsweek pointed out, that notwithstanding, while Americans rally around a president working a crisis, they nonetheless require a credible figure in the role. (Just a thought, how god a job do you think Graham Nash would do as president? God forbid that it ever happened but if Mr. Nash ever became president, I think conservatives might even look at Clinton in a favorable light!)

By the end of week one of the crisis, a national news magazine pointed out that President Bush had become that "credible figure" to the voters. Voters in a recent Newsweek poll approved of Mr. Bush's job performance by an 82-11 percent margin. And as Newsweek pointed out, "That's about where Roosevelt's rating stood immediately after Pearl Harbor and higher than the rating received by any other president, including Bush's father during the Gulf War. An even higher ratio, 89 - 8 , specifically approved of his handling of the terrorist crisis. And by a big margin of 83-13 percent, voters said that the president is coming across as a 'strong leader.'"

As the days and weeks go on, and Mr Bush shows what he's made of, it's becoming increasingly obvious to me why our nation experienced its unprecedented election struggles after the last general election. God knew what was going to happen and knew who He wanted in power. My suspicion is that if we could see behind the "spiritual curtain" that shields us from most of the angelic and demonic activity taking place in the heavenlies is that there was an enormous battle going on in the spiritual realm during and after election time. I get cold chills running up and down my spine when I think how close we came to having Mr. Gore as our "leader," and of the ensuing nightmare that would have produced.

The Biblical Book of Esther speaks to this situation very well. As the Jews were being faced with wholesale slaughter, the key to their deliverance lay with Queen Esther It was suggested to her, "who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)

As our nation with the help of the Lord continues to go through and recover from the tragic events of September 11th, I fervently believe that President George W. Bush was elected to lead our nation "for such a time as this."

Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico and is pursuing his PhD in intercultural education at Biola University in Los Angeles. He is married with five children and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work can be viewed here and weekly at www.americasvoices.org. He may be contacted by e-mail at reynalds@joyjunction.org.

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