I was driving home from my father-in-law’s house in Tacoma this evening: the wife and kids were asleep, the wind was cool, my head was clear. One of those nice highway moments.

I was thinking about the overwhelming odds against creating a humane, sustainable culture out of the chaos and violence gathering around us. Just then, a song called "Oxygen" by Willy Mason came on. I’d heard it dozens of times, but for some reason this time it spoke to me, reminded me that all I can do is what I can do — be the best person I can be, and tell the truth as I see it. You too.

Song and lyrics below the fold.

Willy Mason: "Oxygen"

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you’re drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they’ve got a disease
I wanna be cooler than TV
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be

We can be stronger than bombs
If you’re singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there’s things that we don’t really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until I’m dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

I wanna see through all the lies of society
To the reality, happiness is at stake
I wanna hold up my head with dignity
Proud of a life where to give means more than to take
I want to live beyond the modern mentality
Where paper is all that you’re really taught to create

Do you remember the forgotten America?
Justice, equality, freedom to every race
Just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy
Makeup and hair to the truth behind every face
Look around to all the people you see,
How many of them are happy and free?

I know it sounds like a dream
But it’s the only thing that can get me to sleep at night
I know it’s hard to believe
But it’s easy to see that something here isn’t right
I know the future looks dark
But it’s there that the kids of today must carry the light.

On and on and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until I’m dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.