For those of you too young to remember the song, or who destroyed too many brain cells in the 1960s and 1970s, here is a clip of the band performing "Dialogue" live in 1975:
Trading lead vocals in the song are the late guitarist Terry Kath and bassist Peter Cetera, who skillfully bring to life a discussion between friends about war. Kath's character is a somewhat pessimistic, quasi-liberal person who questions the merits of war in a time of widespread hunger, while Cetera's character is a more optimistic, pro-establishment type who "always thinks that everything is fine."
What I always appreciated most about the song is that neither the war protester nor the government supporter are demonized. Neither of them claims to have the answers to the world's problems, and each recognizes the validity of the other's perspective despite their disagreement:
Kath: Don't it make you angryIt would have been easy for the band to turn the Cetera character into a blind fool who keeps his head in the metaphorical sand, but instead they chose to capture this moment of Platonic dialogue in a manner that treats both characters with dignity, even when the position held by the pro-war Cetera is untenable. Part II ends with Kath and Cetera singing about changing the world and saving its children.
The way the war is dragging on?
Cetera: Well, I hope the President knows
What he's into, I don't know.
And yet, as I listen to the rhetoric used by the opposing camps in the debate over the Iraq War, I become discouraged. The discourse between those who support the war and those who oppose it has eroded to the point where rational and reciprocal dialogue no longer occurs. True, this was also the case at the height of the debate over the Vietnam War, but a part of me still believes that humanity can rise above gutter-level rhetoric.
Believe it, people. We can change the world.