Don’t Be the Weak Link in the Chain

Words and music Creative Commons License 1995 by Jim Bearden

In late 1994, Garth Brooks presented the idea (in “The Believer” magazine, distributed to his fans) that we start building a “Chain of Peace” in 1995, adding one link for every day that passed without a war. This song is based on that idea, and on the examples of the lives of three men — Jesus, Mohandas Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. — who showed us that war and violence are not necessary to make change, and in fact are signs of weakness, not of strength.

Verse 1:
We’re building a mighty chain of peace;
One link for every day we go without a war.
And as we look back in the future, from a world that’s blessed with peace,
We’ll wonder what it was we all were fighting for.

The way of peace is not easy, some would say impossible;
But we’ve got a few good examples we can see:
Some who struggled, not for power, but for what they knew was right —
Some who died, so we all could be free.

Don’t be the weak link in the chain.
Don’t think the thoughts, don’t do the deeds,  that’ll start a war again.
Why can’t we see it yet?  What you give is what you get.
Don’t be the weak link in the chain.

Verse 2:
On a mountain top in Judea, with the whole world at his feet;
With the kingdom and the power a word away —
Instead he said, “Get thee behind me!”; “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
“Those who live by the sword will die that way.”

In the Garden of Gethsemane, he said, “Let this pass from me.”
But he told his followers, “Put away your swords.”
At the end he said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Why can’t we hear the meaning of his words?


Verse 3:
Thrown off a train in South Africa, in the middle of the night,
Or leading thousands on a march to the sea;
His interest was “soul power”, not the ordinary kind —
He’d die, but he wouldn’t kill, to set his country free.

Then when they gave his land its freedom, it descended into strife;
And he spoke out against his own people, too.
He had to do the right thing, even though he risked his life–
His thoughts, as old as time, still show us life anew.


Verse 4:
On a city bus in Montgomery, she said that she was tired —
Tired of moving, tired of running, tired of hate.
And he came to lead the marches that brought the racists to their knees,
Brought us to our ideals, two centuries late.

When he said, “I’ve been to the mountain top”, no one knew the end was near —
That his life was in more danger than it would seem.
But he still can show us how to bridge the gulf of hate and fear,
If we listen to the words of his dream.


For far too long, we’ve thought the brave ones were those who hid behind their guns,
Who fought and killed in wars, because they thought that might made right.
But the really brave ones, who go out, armed with only their ideals,
Can show us all that violence is just a coward’s way to fight.


Oh, don’t be … the weak link … in the chain.

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