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Speculating Lennon

Thirty-one years ago today, musician and activist John Lennon was shot and killed. I wonder what he would be doing if he were alive today. Aside from the awesome music which might have been made, what would Lennon’s activism look like in today’s world?

For starters, he would almost certainly be a large voice supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement. I think he would make some interesting and unique contributions to the movement. While, some Occupiers have tried to mirror his famous “War is Over” campaign, John would almost certainly have new ideas for getting the world to take notice of the corruption on Wall Street.

Would Lennon be a more vocal atheist in 2011? This is hard to say. He was a fairly vocal atheist back in his day, but he is also someone who seeks to harmony with everyone. So he probably wouldn’t be like Christopher Hitchens. He might however take up a more Humanist angle on the issue and present a very positive face for atheism.

My guess is that he wouldn’t actually identify himself with the greater community of reason, but would be similar to people like Neil deGrasse Tyson in his positioning. Neil speaks out against religious extremism and doesn’t hide the fact that he lacks belief, but he also doesn’t actively encourage people to disbelieve. John would probably be like that too.

Yoko Ono has continued to do some activism over the years, but she lacks the showmanship that John had. On the other hand, it is possible that over thirty years, John’s activism would have become stale. The right-wing could marginalize him as a polarizing figure like Michael Moore and if their campaign was successful, it might diminish Lennon’s impact. Still, even people on the right loved the Beatles.

The world that could have been… We miss you John.  Wish you were here.

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