Mercy, Mercy Me: Sandy, Mother Earth and Signs That We’ve Got To Do Better By Our Planet

Right about now, I don’t really care that Usher paid $12,000 for a puppy or that Toni Braxton thinks Oprah is mean or that Sherman Hemsley’s body is still unburied three months after his death because his former manager and his roommate are fighting over his pitiful $50,000 estate. I’m in a New York state of mind—thinking about the hell Hurricane Sandy has wreaked on my people back home in New York, New Jersey and the East Coast, my hometown. There is flooding. And fires. And power outages galore. Destruction and even death. I’m worried. And a lot mad that even as October snow falls in North Carolina, homes in Staten Island stand flooded to the attic, New York tunnels are full of water and subways burn, we’re still pretending like our blatant disrespect of mother Earth isn’t playing a part in Mother Nature’s wrath. Really, folk, when are we going to learn? How many different ways are we going to play deaf, blind and dumb while politicians stand on their soap boxes, denying that man-induced mess is changing the climate and wreaking havoc on our weather, our wildlife, our green spaces—our planet?

I tell you, it’s been 41 years since the debut of Marvin Gaye’s legendary What’s Going On LP, and still, it stands the test of time. I revere “Mercy, Mercy Me (Ecology)” now, more than ever, because of its truth and its prophecy; the lyrics make me turn off lights and grab my Publix cloth shopping bags and rush the kids out of the shower and plant stuff out in the backyard make me marvel at what God’s created and vow to do better by it.

Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Where did all the blue sky go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north and south and east

Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Radiation in the ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can you stand?
My sweet Lord
My sweet Lord
My sweet Lord

Sweet Lord, indeed.

For my East Coast friends: I’m sending up the timber—praying that the damage is minimal, the lights stay working and nobody gets hurt behind this Sandy business.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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