The video of Hollywood types singing Imagine raises some interesting points

Gal Gadot, who played Wonder Woman in the eponymous movie and is playing the same character in the yet-to-be-released Wonder Woman 1984, gathered some Hollywood friends together to sing a tuneless version of John Lennon’s marginally tuneful Imagine. Putting aside the fact that I’m too old to recognize most of the stars (although Lynda Carter, the original Wonder Woman, looks lovely at 68), Imagine is an interesting counterpoint to what’s going on today.

For those who haven’t yet seen the video, it begins with Gal Gadot, at home, talking about watching a video of an Italian trumpet player on a balcony playing Imagine to his quarantined neighbors, something she found moving. She then starts to sing the song, with each subsequent line picked up by a different Hollywood star.


Ignoring the metaphysical questions about Heaven and Hell, as well as the irony of wealthy Hollywood types unironically singing about a world without possessions or greed, the noteworthy lyrics in the context of coronavirus are these:

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion, too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

The one thing that the coronavirus has made clear is that globalism is a failure. This failure isn’t just because open borders act as a vehicle for a hitchhiking virus. Instead, it goes deeper than that and we can see that most clearly in Europe.

Before the European Union, there was the European Economic Community. The EEC allowed different European countries to pool their strength to offset American market dominance. By 1992, though, the bureaucrats decided that what they really needed to do was erase individual European nations, some of which reached back almost two millennia in time and, instead, to create a giant trans-Europe – the European Union

My mother, a European, always said it was not going to work because European nations didn’t merely have national identities reaching back centuries. It wasn’t going to work because they had hatreds reaching back that far too. Just as anti-Semitism seems bred in the bone across Europe, so too is the mistrust and dislike that bordering nations have for each other. My mother was on to something.

Back in the late 1950s, with people worried about nuclear annihilation, the Kingston Trio had fun with long-standing hatreds and disruptions across the world. These lyrics remind us that the old world hasn’t changed much in the intervening sixty-plus years, and that's as true for Europe as it is elsewhere:

Beginning in 2008, the recession and its years-long fallout revealed the first fissures in the EU, as the richer nations did nothing to help bail out the poorer EU nations.

The second blow to the European Union came in 2015, when Angela Merkel unilaterally opened Europe’s gates to millions of Middle Eastern and African refugees (mostly Muslim), with the mandate that all European nations must welcome them. In other words, Germany sought redemption for destroying Europe and killing the Jews in the 20th century by importing a cohort of people intent upon destroying Europe and killing the Jews in the 21st century. Small wonder that, just the other day, Merkel told Germans to pull together against the coronavirus just as Germans pulled together in WWII.

The third blow came this month when Europe refused to help Italy in her hour of dire need. Not only that, but Europeans have also abandoned their Union and are shutting down their borders with warp speed. When Mother Nature comes a-knockin’, there is no European Union; there are just nations reaching back hundreds or thousands of years.

So much for John Lennon’s banal hope, echoed by 25 equally banal entertainment types, that “there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do.” In fact, it’s very hard to do, because nationalism is hardwired.

Having said that, after China had to confess it had a problem, the nations of the world did do something extraordinary: They began to work across borders to find a cure for an enemy greater than any other seen in our lifetime. We are seeing a magical moment and one that we should cherish because once the danger is gone, nationalism, whether toxic, as in Putin’s Russia, or healthy, as in America, will be back again.

(By the way, regarding the world pulling together, this episode from the mid-1980s reboot of the Twilight Zone seems appropriate.)

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