Imagine If “Imagine” Came True

Author’s note: I’ve been expecting this for years. The current socialist movement now wants to dump “The Star Spangled Banner” and replace it with “Imagine.”

Back in 2001, I wrote a column about the song “Imagine,” written by the late Beatle, John Lennon. Lennon was, of course, a very rich socialist. But never mind that. He sang about having “no possessions” as if that were a good thing. That drove me nuts for several reasons.

John Lennon was one of the greatest songwriters in history. When Paul McCartney wrote “Hey Jude,” Lennon countered with “Revolution.” The two-sided hit is arguably the greatest 45 RPM record in the annals of rock and roll. Lennon wrote many other great songs like “A Hard Day’s Night” (a personal favorite), “Help,” the inspirational “In My Life,” “Girl,” and “Across the Universe.” Like McCartney, he was a generational talent.

Lennon’s high point to others – “Imagine” – was a low point to me.

The melody and performance were fine – but I strongly prefer “Nowhere Man” if I want to hear a Lennon song. “Imagine” as a song is not great work – it’s just okay. Lyrically, it’s a disaster.

It’s not surprising then that a socialist, Marxist-inspired movement would turn to it as an anthem.

I would say you can’t make this up — but I did make it up back in 2007 when I wrote that the new “world anthem” was “Imagine.”

In my novel “Rules of Ascension,” “Imagine” was the anthem for a semi-socialist one-world government. I wrote this novel in 2007, thinking that a socialist utopia would certainly turn to “Imagine.”   The slogan of this government was “Imagine World Peace” and it appeared throughout the novel. Yes, I plan to publish it as soon as I can.

Here is a short excerpt from “Rules of Ascension.” In this sequence, President Roosevelt of an alternate reality had used nuclear power, and brought the planet to its knees.

Roosevelt had the big stick and he had used it twice. After Moscow, every nation on Earth laid down its arms.”
     Vickers said, “So Roosevelt had to decide what to do. He called a gigantic summit meeting of all nations in New York and debated for weeks. Eventually, all the heads-of-state went home and polled their countrymen. When the results were in, it was apparent that the world was tired of war. The thing everyone wanted most was World Peace.”
     “So Roosevelt delivered it to them,” said Brothers. “And that explains why everyone chants ‘Imagine World Peace’ and those banners down below –”
     “‘Imagine World Peace’ was selected as our world motto just as ‘Imagine’ is our world anthem – like ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ used to be the national anthem of the old United States.”
     Brothers grinned. “‘Imagine’ by John Lennon – of The Beatles?”
     “John Lennon is correct,” said Bailey. “But I’m not familiar with The Beatles. Lennon was once part of a very famous band called ‘The Trap Door Spyders.’ That’s ‘spider’ spelled with a ‘Y.’ They eventually just shortened it to ‘The Spyders.’”
     “If there hadn’t been a divergence, he would have been a Beatle spelled with ‘E-A’” said Brothers. “At least the misspelling of the groups’ bugs is consistent.”
     “So our history and your history went their separate ways after the different resolutions of World War II,” said Vickers. “In your world, the United States continued as a sovereign nation while in our world, Roosevelt formed a Planetary Government under the banner of the United Earth.”

This story was written six years after the column.

Back in 2001, the piece created some waves. I was asked to appear on the national Mike Gallagher Show and I did. Mike said he’d never really thought about the words to this song. I imagine a lot of people really never considered the real meaning of it, but merely had an emotional reaction to the melody and Lennon’s performance.

It’s when you examine the song that it gets dicey. A man worth millions – maybe hundreds of millions – was singing about erasing all personal achievements – and taking away all hope of a loving God.

He wasn’t advocating life. He was advocating existence.

That’s what the current social movement is advocating too: total forced equality with the government deciding how many cows we all own, and justice as defined by a small group of government elites.

With that in mind, here is the original column exactly as it first appeared on September 9, 2001.

Imagine If “Imagine” Came True 

This is the cover art for Imagine by the artist John Lennon. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the label, Apple Records, or the graphic artist(s). Image from Wikipedia under “Fair Use.”

Every now and then, some sweet, beautiful young thing is interviewed by a middle-aged host at the Miss-Something-or-other Pageant, and invariably will cite John Lennon’s “Imagine” as her favorite song.

The song, with its lilting piano interludes and high-sounding idealistic lyrics is often quoted by people young and old as a personal favorite. And now some rock star has paid mega-bucks just to own the piano that Lennon used to compose the song.

But have you ever stopped to examine those lyrics?

Have you ever considered what the world would be like if “Imagine” came true? It’s not a very pretty picture, actually.

If Lennon’s dream is ever realized, we’ll all be living under a “New World Order,” with a benevolent but powerful unified government giving us just what we need, and nothing more.

The opening line establishes the underlying theme of the song: in John Lennon’s perfect world, no religion is needed – no Jesus, no Buddha, no Mohammad, no God.

“Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today.”

How depressing. If Mr. Lennon meant to inspire us with these cheery thoughts, perhaps he was in the midst of one of his noted encounters with a chemical substance. I’d prefer to imagine – or to believe – that there is a heaven – that humankind’s existence on Planet Earth is more than mere happenstance resulting from some hypothetical Big Bang. I do suppose, though, that many folks would just as soon believe there’s no hell. “If it feels good, do it,” Lennon is saying. Neither reward nor punishment waits in the next life.

“Imagine there’s no countries. Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace.”

This little sentiment that Mr. Lennon expresses about countries is his big idea that the world should be under a common government, and that it should be socialist. Here, the former Beatle is saying that if we don’t have any countries and no religion, we’d have nothing to fight and die for. Presumably, this would end the fighting in the Middle East (over land) and in Northern Ireland (over religion) and everywhere else. There’d be nothing to fight for. Imagine that! Ah, but here comes the rub…

“Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people sharing all the world.”

So to realize John Lennon’s dream, we not only have to eliminate national sovereignty in favor of one-world government, but each individual has to become part of a collective in which we “share” everything. We’d have no poverty. In fact, we’d have nothing at all except what this Lennonesque government decides that we need. Okay, now to the chilling conclusion:

“You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”

Years after John Lennon was brutally shot down by a deranged fan, his dream is still alive and still picking up steam. Socialistic tendencies are rampant in many quarters these days including most of Europe and within our own Democratic Party here in the States. The idea of a wise and benevolent government that takes care of us all from cradle to grave flourished in the Clinton Administration and has survived into the Bush years. And religion has already been removed from most public places – most notably our schools. “Imagine” is still the socialist anthem of choice on our politically correct college campuses.

But to imagine Lennon’s dream is to imagine the end of individuality, personal responsibility, free enterprise, and – freedom. It would also mean the end of great institutions such as the church, and of course, the United States of America (and all other nations) would fade into oblivion.

It’s hard to imagine anything worse.

Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based author, broadcaster, and songwriter.

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“Imagine” lyrics by John Lennon, copyright 1972 by EMI Blackwood Music/Lenono Music. Used for review purposes.

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