By Willie Drennan
Rabbie Burns is often referred to as the Immortal Bard or at least the Bard of Immortal Memory. What would he think of the state of the world today - in January 2023 - exactly 264 years after his birth?
Rabbie was a complex, fiercely independent free-thinker. So, obviously there will be differences of opinion as to what he would think, believe and say - should he just happen to appear back amongst us in this present day.
Well, I've been fascinated by the works of Burns since I was a teenager and I reckon that gives me some credentials to tell you what I think.
He would surely be still as opinionated on issues of politics, religion and the plight of humanity. In fact, right now in January 2023, he would surely have grave concerns about the plight of humanity – the plight of the people.
During his lifetime he questioned everything in life and in particular he questioned authority. He challenged the hierarchy of Church and State. He questioned and challenged the hierarchy of just about everything. This does not mean he was disloyal or disrespectful. It does not mean he was a rebel or an anarchist. It simply means he naturally questioned everything.
He constantly sought the truth. He cherished freedom and the rights of individuals to question and challenge authority. I firmly believe he would do exactly that if he was alive right now.
In his time he sought fairness and respect for individuals – for all people regardless of creed, social status, religious belief or political view – including those he fundamentally disagreed with. He was tolerant and respectful of other sincerely held opinions. His bottom line, however, was to seriously challenge those in positions of power who abused their power, who deliberately manipulated and withheld the truth from the people.
In his poems and songs he would say things like: