Sunday, July 3, 2011

"The General" - Dispatch

I don't believe in war. I'm a strong believer in making love.. not war.    It blows my mind that in such a sophisticated society with advanced technologies and beliefs, that we still engage in this ancient act. That being said, I understand that when the decision to fight is made we require people to fight. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the men and women that put their lives on the line every day so that we don't have to.  One of my best friends has been overseas with the army twice.  Every time I heard a report of Canadians killed while fighting abroad I scrambled to the newspaper to find the names, praying every time that it wasn't his.  It's crazy to think that this goofy guy who used to let me cut his hair on the deck (bad idea), and sit puking beside me on the front steps after we'd been kicked out of his own house party, could actually be the same guy sent out to the desert to fight for our Country. Thankfully he made it home safe and sound each time, and I look forward to wrecking many more parties with him.

Wrecking Parties
When I heard "The General" by Dispatch it immediately reminded me of him.  Not because he's a general, or a decorated war vet,  but because he's the kind of guy who has always put others before himself.  He is kind and selfless and may very well be the bravest person that I know.

In a narrative way - very reminiscent of folk music, "The General"  tells the story of a "brilliant and battle-torn general" who has a dream that brings him to the realization that he is fighting a war that can never be won, "that this fight is not worth fighting."  He sends his men home, offering to fulfill the job he had sworn to do.  He sacrifices his own chance at a full and happy life for the sake of many.
General Robert E. Lee

Chad Urmston, from Dispatch called "The General", their "anti-war" song. In the book "The Best of the Dispatch", Urmston says;
"Although it was primarily based on the Civil War, the message was not confined to any particular conflict.  The song tells about General Robert E. Lee telling his Confederate army to basically go home and stop fighting" 

there was a decorated general with
a heart of gold, that likened him to
all the stories he told
of past battles, won and lost, and
legends of old a seasoned veteran in
his own time

on the battlefield, he gained
respectful fame with many medals
of bravery and stripes to his name
he grew a beard as soon as he could
to cover the scars on his face
and always urged his men on

but on the eve of a great battle
with the infantry in dream
the old general tossed in his sleep
and wrestled with its meaning
he awoke from the night
just to tell what he had seen
and walked slowly out of his tent

all the men held tall with their
chests in the air, with courage in
their blood and a fire in their stare
it was a grey morning and they all
wondered how they would fare
till the old general told them to go home

He said: I have seen the others
and I have discovered
that this fight is not worth fighting
I have seen their mothers
and I will no other
to follow me where I'm going

So,take a shower, shine your shoes
you got no time to lose
you are young men you must be living
Take a shower, shine your shoes
you got no time to lose
you are young men you must be living
go now you are forgiven

but the men stood fast with their
guns on their shoulders not knowing
what to do with the contradicting orders
the general said he would do his own
duty but would extend it no further
the men could go as they pleased

but not a man moved, their eyes gazed straight ahead
till one by one
they stepped back and not a word was said
and the old general was left with his
own words echoing in his head
he then prepared to fight


go now you are forgiven 

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