It’s been over 40 years since the incomparable Marvin Gaye penned his enigmatic and prophetic song “What’s Going On,” but given the problems facing both our country and our world, perhaps the concerns he raised deserve a fresh look.
With the announcement of ramped up security, particularly for U.S. transportation systems and the District’s major tourist attractions, coming on the heels of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, and with an Islamic State video warning of a Paris-style attack here in D.C., safety has become our number one concern.
Who can imagine heading to a basketball game, a concert, or simply enjoying a family outing on the National Mall – then suddenly finding oneself in the midst of bullets, bombs and zealots bent on destruction?
Federal and local officials urge citizens to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities. But is that enough? And how safe are we, really, when we know that mongers of hate have already invaded our shores and live within our midst?
Brother Marvin said, “There’s too many of you crying” and “There’s far too many of you dying. He emphasized that “We don’t need to escalate” because “war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate.” And then he uttered the rhetorical question over and over again, “What’s going on?”
Already, we hear that Russia and France have vowed to wipe out terrorists, with Syria at the top of their list. Is that what’s going on?
Meanwhile, President Obama has urged that we be more cautious before jumping into another war – a decision that has been challenged by right wing war hawks, many of whom are Republican presidential candidates.
“We’ve got to find a way to bring some understanding today,” Gaye said as he brought his song to a close.
Life is precious, life is fragile, life is a gift. Somehow, we must find a way to reach across the divide that separates humanity from humanity so that we can coexist on this place that we call planet Earth.
Our prayers are with the leaders of the world as they ponder decisions that could either save this world or plunge us into a catastrophic engagement of weapons that will answer Marvin’s question of “what’s going on” with one word: death.