Thursday, July 24, 2014
With a new cover of the song being highlighted on a recent episode of “Under the Dome,” I was reminded again of the truly counter-cultural the lyrics for the late-Sixties era classic “Who’ll Stop the Rain” written by John Fogerty and performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Lest we mistakenly remember the Sixties counter-cultural movement as uniformly liberal and infatuated with big government as the social justice answer, “Who’ll Stop the Rain” includes this pointed observation:
Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow
Five year plans and new deals wrapped in golden chains
The song warns that government promises seldom come without strings attached and government-centric solutions often have negative consequences that may not be anticipated. Attempting to solve social problems through entitlement programs risks the interposition of impersonal bureaucratic agencies and expanding government special interests, while trapping recipients in dependency and obliged to comply with government rules mandates that reflect the different moral ethos of the elite. One need not eschew all government programs (and I certainly do not) to believe that “Who’ll Stop the Rain” is healthy reminder that the rose may have thorns.
Now the song could be characterized as libertarian in nature, and Fogerty last year acknowledged that he’s “probably a lot more like some kind of libertarian or something.” But I also hear something decidedly spiritual in the first verse of the song — a reference to the age-old search for greater meaning and truth:
Long as I remember rain’s been comin’ down
Clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground
Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain
While the singer of this song is certainly weary, the hope of noble people to find the sun remains — a hope that we as Catholics place in a person, not in a political messiah.
For those who wish to reminisce and those for whom this song is new, you can listen to the original recording here (with the standard YouTube license).