Yesterday, President Scott and I were discussing the best Billy Joel song ever. It's hard to pin down a single best one when you have to choose between such classics as The Stranger, Piano Man, New York State of Mind, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, Tell Her About It, Goodnight, Saigon, Allentown, We Didn't Start the Fire, The Downeaster Alexa, Uptown Girl . . . OK, so I lost credibility with that last one. We'll pretend it never happened.
Anyway, my favorite Billy Joel song is Leningrad. Born in 1949, Mr. Joel "was a Cold War kid in McCarthy times." The Russians, for his generation, were evil personified. Without the Russians, there never would have been a Korean
Conflict War, a Cuban Missile Crisis, an American presence in Vietnam and the concomitant "civil unrest" over here. The Russians were not only evil, they were the wellspring of evil. Yet, in Leningrad, Mr. Joel tells us about his realization that Viktor, a consummate Russian soldier, is just another person. The lines he thought divided him from Viktor were a lot thinner than he had ever supposed.
I love Leningrad because it gives me hope that one day the War on Terror will end, and we'll all realize that our brothers and sisters from the Fertile Crescent--or if you care about accuracy, a stretch of geography from Morocco to Malaysia--are really that: our brothers and sisters. Despite our theological differences, we are all children of the same planet. The lines that divide us are a lot thinner than some would have us believe.
Now, go watch The Kingdom and think about the lines that divide us.