Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
November 23, 1967, Vol. XIII, No. 6
Have You Heard? The War Is Over!
by Phil Ochs
Does protesting the war leave you tired and upset? Does civil disobedience leave you nervous and irritable? Does defending liberalism leave you feeling friendless and perhaps wondering about your breath? Does defending the need of repelling communist aggression leave you exhausted and give you that generation gap feeling?
On the other hand, are you tired of taking drugs to avoid the crushing responsibilities of a sober world? Do you want to do something about the war and yet refuse to bring yourself down to the low level of current demonstrations?
Is everybody sick of this stinking war?
In that case, friends, do what I and thousands of other Americans have done — declare the war over.
That’s right, I said declare the war over from the bottom up.
This simple remedy has provided relief for countless frustrated citizens and has been overlooked for an amazingly long time, perhaps because it is so obvious. After all, this is our country, our taxes, our war. We pay for it, we die for it, we curiously watch it on television — we should at least have the right to end it.
Now I enjoy violence as much as the next guy, but enough is enough. Five seasons is plenty for the most exciting of series.
On Saturday, November 25, we are going to declare the war over and celebrate the end of the war in Washington Square Park at 1 p.m.
For one day only, you and your family can achieve that moment you’ve all been waiting for. Ludicrous as this may appear, it is certainly far less so than the war itself. I am not recommending this as a substitute for other actions; it is merely an attack of mental disobedience on an obediently insane society.
The is the sin of sins against an awkward power structure, the refusal to take it seriously. If you are surprised the war is over, imagine the incredulity of this administration when they hear about it.
Two or three years ago the morality of this war was argued, and those who said the war was indecent and ineffectual were proven correct. And if you feel you have been living in an unreal world for the last couple of years, it is partially because this power structure has refused to listen to reason, or to recognize that they’ve lost their argument. But like all bullies and empires gone mad, they will not give in simply because they are stronger…
Old America has proven herself decadent enough to be willing to sacrifice one of her finest generations into the garbage truck of cold war propaganda. What kind of depths have they sunk into to dishonor the very meaning of the word “honor” by asking young men to die for nothing? This is not my America, this is not my war; if there is going to be an America, there is no war — guerre est finie!
The criminal patriotism of today demands the corruption of every citizen, and now we pay the consequences — not only in the jungles of Asia, but in the materialist ravaged cities of America. Now we are the lost patrol who chase their chartered souls like old whores following tired armies.
Have you hears? The war is over!
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]