“Peace on Earth — IF We Want It!”

John Lennon Tribute --Capitol Theater -- Flint, Michigan. December 9, 1980


With the 2010 November Elections mercifully behind us in a year speeding along faster than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, here come the Holidays and with them — treasured childhood echoes from the soundtrack of our lives.

In recent years, faced with ever increasing competitive pressures, some radio stations are beginning to feature “Christmas Music” even now, this category traditionally covering everything from religious themes (“Silent Night”, “Away in a Manger”, “Joy to the World”) — through more secular fare (“Jingle Bells”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “Feliz Navidad”) — to the sublimely ridiculous (“All I Want for Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth”) (”Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”, ) and, for California Proposition 19 fans, Cheech and Chong’s immortal (“Santa Claus and His Old Lady.”)

Each new season brings fresh candidates competing for contemporary acceptance and, hope against hope, for qualification as a true classic to be brought back time and time again with every completed 583 million mile spin around the sun at 18.5 miles per second.

Recorded in October of 1971 at Record Plant Studios in New York and released on December 6th, the Harlem Community Choir appeared on “This is Christmas”, an offering which received limited exposure due to its perceived “political nature” — consequently failing to make Billboard’s Top 100 for the month. It was considered by most programmers to be an utter failure in spite of featuring a star performer from a band already judged by many as the greatest of all time — as has become — though the years — the song itself.

December 7th of this year is “Pearl Harbor Day”, somberly recalling the 1941 attack by Imperial Japan on our American fleet at Pearl Harbor, “a date which will live in infamy” and initiated our involvement in World War Two. The following day, December 8th, 2010, marks the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. It was John, of course, who wrote and produced, “This is Christmas” — later better known as “Happy Xmas (War is Over”). You’ll be hearing it again these Holidays on almost every radio station in range across all formats. It contains a message upon which our lives and the future of our nation depends.

And it’s an invitation.

This year on “Pearl Harbor Day” — some mountain neighbors are getting together at The Grind to present — “Peace on Earth — If We Want It” — a Holiday Commemoration brought to you by the Oakhurst Democratic Forum.

For Web Readers — The Grind is on Highway 41 in Oakhurst, California.

Featured will be two exceptional short films from the 1930’s.

1939 was a rough year to be a diehard pacifist. But that’s when Hugh Harman’s “Peace On Earth” antiwar cartoon was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1994, it was voted #40 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time. It was also nominated for the 1939 Academy Award for Short Subjects, the same year “Gone With the Wind” won “Best Picture.”

“Dealers in Death” is a 1935 antiwar documentary telling the story of companies that became rich selling weapons in World War One. Many munitions companies are highlighted including Krupp, Vickers-Armstrong, Skoda, Colt and Remington. Parallels between then and now are truly terrifying.

A panel of participants including Rev. Paul Colbert, Vicar of St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church in Oakhurst, Soto Zen Priest Rev. Mary-Allen Macneil of Oakhurst, Dr. Terry Winant from the Philosophy Department at Fresno State and Basim Elkarra, Chair of the Arab/American Caucus of the California Democratic Party, will offer overview and commentary — giving peace a chance.

We hope you’ll join us.

Pearl Harbor Day — 7 PM — at The Grind.

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