February 4

Yesterday, while looking for something else, I came across a DVD that had gone missing for quite a long time. It was The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show. This show aired from 1969-1971, when the country was more deeply divided than it had been since the Civil War. The Vietnam War had torn apart the fabric of our country, the peace movement did not serve to bring things together. Kent State laid bare the senselessness of extremity. But in the midst of this all, when TV could still be reality, there was Johnny Cash, each week bringing together, white and black, rich and poor, men and women, all genres of music in an ongoing celebration of difference and the healing qualities of recognizing the value of each and every one. I remember those shows, watched them avidly, and felt the power of music as the universal language and the power of the “Man in Black” to show the way.

In watching the DVD today, of these shows from nearly 50 years ago, I felt relief for 100 minutes, relief not easy to come by these days, amidst the purposive destruction of so much of value. It was good medicine and I highly recommend it.