Home Opinion Happy Birthday, Bethany Yarrow

Happy Birthday, Bethany Yarrow


Today is the birthday of a most remarkable individual: Bethany Yarrow, the daughter of Peter Yarrow, founding member of Peter, Paul & Mary. I dedicated my dissertation to the group, and consider them to be the greatest peace and justice voices of our generation. Throughout their 50-year career, PP&M dedicated themselves to issues of equality, tolerance, and social justice. Social justice achievement is an issue that is exacerbated by natural disaster and political malfeasance, which both Peter and Bethany have struggled mightily against. Bethany most recently made the news by being arrested for supporting Pancakes over Pipelines, during which she continued to sing the immutable social justice song We Shall Not Be Moved

But this post isn't about Bethany. Not really. This post is about E Pluribus Unum--"From Many, We Will Become One"--our national motto and our commitment as a foundling nation to work together to achieve what each of us could not and cannot achieve individually--which, in essence, is the message that Peter and Bethany want us to understand.

The battle against E Pluribus Unum rages, as strongly as any battle we've seen in our history. Consider:

  • There is a faction of our population that advocates the carrying of guns for the sole purpose of killing fellow citizens that might disagree with us.
  • There is a faction of our population that wants to disable the federal government to the point they cannot provide basic security, health care, health care rights for women, equal justice under the law, equal right to cast votes for our representatives, and other rights that we created this country to enable.
  • There is a faction of our government that wants to turn over all of our legislative protections to the profiteering motives of corporations.
  • There is a faction of our government that wants to eliminate all environmental protection, returning us to the days of rivers that catch on fire, bird eggs that will not hatch, etc.
  • There is a faction of our government that wants to deny the damage caused by fracking, and wishes to prevent any local control over the situation.
  • There is a faction of our government that wants to deny the truth of human-caused climate change and the damages to our civilization that will result.

There is a simple characterization of these factions that do not believe in E Pluribus Unum: I will leave it to you to figure out how they characterize themselves. You can see them on the news every night. I would simply add that those who most loudly scream that they are 'patriots' may in fact have the least understanding of patriotism as defined by our forefathers through E Pluribus Unum, and be in fact working against our survival. I will also leave it to you to figure out whether or not that's what happening.

And if, in the end, you conclude as I have that Peter and Bethany have chosen the only path that has any potential to delivery humanity from self-destruction, then please DO wish her a happy birthday and many more--as I have.

Randall Cuthbert Dr. Randall Cuthbert is a retired APUS Professor of Emergency & Disaster Management. He has also worked as a Red Cross Shelter Supervisor, and spent a 20-year career as a US Air Force Civil Engineer Officer. His blogging interests include: protecting & enhancing the EDM profession in the areas of integrity, honorable public service, and social justice; education regarding the 'big picture' role of EDM in our society; educating our professionals and neighbors with regard to the greatest threat to our civilization--climate change; and in general terms, creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.