by Bob Dylan
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
I’m writing this on Wednesday, the eve of the general election. Whilst I don’t know what the outcome will be, one thing I am sure of is that The Times They Are A-Changin’. This timeless commentary on socio-political change by Bob Dylan seems the perfect choice for a Friday when we will start to see what changes are afoot.
The opening verse speaks of the waters which engulf and offers the advice: Then you better start swimmin’. Whether you are pleased, unhappy, or indifferent to the result of the election, one thing is for sure. It has happened and it will shape the place where we live. So, the starting point for the song, and for us, is one of acceptance.
The second verse takes us into the realm of political commentary, socio-political swing and the media.
And don’t speak too soon, for the wheel’s still in spin … For the loser now , will be later to win.
The message? The times are always changing. If you are happy with the result, remember not to become triumphalist, the political pendulum will always swing. If you’re unhappy, that return swing will come about once again.
Verse three builds on these concepts. As we accept the result , and its temporal immediate influence, what is important is not our party politics, but our commitment to those whom may feel left behind as a result:
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled.
As the song enters the penultimate verse the old guard are encouraged to stand aside to allow a new generation to build change which makes sense to them. Each generation has a responsibility to leadership through political engagement to create a society which they understand as caring and relevant. Yet the final verse puts this all into context.
As the present now, will later be past. The order is rapidly fadin’.
Whatever the result, whatever the implication, however you feel. Today is just another day. It will come and go. Our wellbeing may today feel influenced by our political persuasion, but it is not the election result which counts. It is how we live our lives and live our political ideals. Happy or sad with the result today? What’s important now is to push on to be the change you believe in.
Taken from the album: