You Can't Always Get What You Want

During the credits of last Sunday’s final episode of HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” I was surprised to hear “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” sung by Ituana, an artist with whom I was totally unfamiliar. I was instantly transported to the summer of 1969, when, in a dingy bar in Berkeley, Calif., I pumped quarter after quarter into an old jukebox to play the newly released Rolling Stones song.

At the time, I had crossed the country in the hopes of talking to philosopher, Michael Scriven. His book, “Primary Philosophy,” inspired me to immerse myself in the study of philosophy. Dr. Scriven was a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Although I never found him, I did end up visiting People’s Park. The “park” was really just a small strip of land that remained after the university had demolished some buildings but ran out of funds to continue their construction. The “park” was an open, desolate lot. Students banded with locals to spruce up the vacant area with shrubs, trees, flowers and benches. They christened it, “People’s Park.”

California Gov. Ronald Reagan saw this as an opportunity to assert his gubernatorial muscle and ordered the highway patrol and local police to take over the park. The result was a bloody confrontation with many demonstrators wounded and one killed. For many, the park became a symbol of the power of everyday individuals to take action against injustice, irrespective of their chances of success.

Sign Up for E-News

It’s been a long time since the bloody protests at “People’s Park” but the efforts of individuals trying to forge a better world have never stopped. Just last week, we lost two such amazing people:

Noreen Fraser was a television producer who, at 46, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Rather than being paralyzed by the depressing news, she decided to do something about it. She started her own foundation in 2006 to fight cancer and organized five national broadcasts entitled “Stand Up to Cancer.” Not only did she raise awareness, but she also galvanized and inspired a whole host of celebrities to join the struggle. Thanks to her efforts, over $100 million was raised for cancer research. Despite her success, she often expressed her impatience with the progress of the research, saying, “I’m frustrated by the pace of new therapies to save my life and other people’s lives.” Ms. Fraser lost her battle against cancer last week but the lessons she taught us of courage and a willingness to take on a seemingly insurmountable foe lives on.

Hans Rosling was a man who had it all. He was a renowned physician, statistician, teacher and speaker. His life was destined to be a life of notoriety and luxury. However, in 1979, he decided to leave that all behind as he relocated his family to Nacala, Mozambique. He was one of two physicians for 300,000 people. He dedicated his life to helping a community ravaged by disease and malnutrition. Dr. Rosling’s name became synonymous with saving lives. Four years ago, he abruptly cancelled all his speaking engagements (his only real source of income), packed his bags, and headed straight to Monrovia, Liberia to meet the Ebola crisis head on. Why would a man who could have lived such a comfortable life risk it all to the save lives of people he didn’t even know? His answer was clear: “I’m in this because once upon a time, I learned what deep poverty was. It wasn’t a number struggling to feed another number. It was a mother trying to feed her child…yet it wasn’t just one woman who was badly off. It was an entire village. It was half of the country. It was 800 million people in the world.” Dr. Rosling helped thousands of people in need. In the end, he couldn’t stop the pancreatic cancer that took his life but his dedication to humanity needs to be celebrated for a long, long time.

We can’t all be Noreen Frasers or Hans Roslings but we can make a difference. We can stand up against the inhumane budget cuts and ill-conceived policies proposed by our president. We don’t need a wall but we do need to dedicate more funds to cancer research. We don’t need to exclude people from our shores because of their religion but we do need to help refugees who are desperately fleeing violent regimes. We don’t need to add billions of dollars to our military budget while cutting Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps or meals on wheels. We must take a stand!

We won’t always win but we have to make the effort for like that song said on that juke box so long ago… “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Yorktown

I Do Not Make Stuff Up!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my column, “Watergate analogies apply to Obama, not Trump,” that President Obama’s Justice Department planted a spy in the Trump campaign. I said I used the term “spy” because this was a counter-intelligence operation, not a criminal investigation, where the term informant would have been proper.

That statement has been brought ...

Interview with Senate Candidate, Robert Kesten

The seat in the 40th Senate District of New York, currently occupied by Republican Sen. Terrence Murphy, is up this year. Senator Murphy, who has announced he is seeking re-election, has already started campaigning. On the Democratic side, newcomer Robert Kesten entered the race. Challenging him for the Democratic nomination is former county Legislator Peter Harckham. Kesten and Harckham will ...

What Kind of Sports Parent Are You?

Social media recently showered a lot of likes and love on a high school pitcher in Minnesota whose team was playing in a regional final that would send the winning team to the state championship game.

After the last batter of the game struck out, the pitcher did something unheard of. Rather than spontaneously join his teammates in an on-field celebration, as is customary, the pitcher ...

Packing Heat

“Are you leaving me?” asked my husband one night as he surveyed the contents of my closet on our bed.

“What? No!” I said. “Why would you think that?”

“Every single article of clothing you own is laid out on our bed,” he replied. “So I have to assume you are either leaving me or you have joined the armed services and if that’s the ...

What More Can Murphy Do?

June 21, 2018

In his letter “Murphy should address gun laws” (June 14), Bernard Lipsy praises Sen. Terrence Murphy and then condemns him for not keeping guns away from people that shouldn’t have them. I was wondering just what new laws he would propose? How many more laws are needed? How about enforcing the numerous laws already on the books, which, by the way, isn’t being done?

What ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, June 28, 12:30 PM

Frankie and Augie'Z, Jefferson Valley

IBM Retirees Club

Community Calendar

Carousel_image_c241423344b91d0c9f91_782289e382fb71551284_bocce_open_play_6-19-18

Thu, June 28, 1:00 PM

Yorktown Heights

Bocce Open Play

Sports

Carousel_image_d8db455959098f493a0e_andrew_art_flyer_small

Thu, June 28, 5:00 PM

Yorktown Heights

"Awake" Art Show

Arts & Entertainment

Yorktown Youth Soccer Club Results

June 15, 2018

Sunday, June 10  - The Yorktown Crew clinched the Westchester Youth Soccer League JV-1 Division with a 4-3 win over Rivertown FC on Sunday. The team has been on a remarkable run for the past 2 seasons with a team record of 16-1-1. Sunday’s matchup vs Rivertown had a championship like atmosphere as Rivertown trailed Yorktown by 1 point in the standings. The Crew worked hard all week in ...