THE BALLAD OF JIM DICKSON
Words & Music By Eric Levine

Vocals & 12-String Guitar: Eric Levine

A ballad about a blind man who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean solo, with sophisticated equipment that gave him the ability to navigate. William F. Buckley, Jr., a sailor himself, was so upset that a blind man might try to snatch his machismo, that he made it the focus of an article and a television debate.

CHORUS:
To sail across the sea in a boat at your command
To sail across the sea and say goodbye to land
Jim Dickson was his name,
And his ees they could not see
But his message focused clearly
As he sailed across the sea

The boat was named Eye Opener, the voyage purpose clear
To sail a boat through prejudice, to spit to the winds of fear
The sea was very stormy, the sea was very rough
He could not make it to Plymouth, but Bermuda was enough
When he got into the harbor, the press was all around
The idea of a sightless sailor their minds it did confound
"Did you really think you could do it?" and Dickson did reply
"I got through one of the tougher storms, in fact I am alive"

CHORUS:
To sail across the sea in a boat at your command
To sail across the sea and say goodbye to land
Jim Dickson was his name,
And his ees they could not see
But his message focused clearly
As he sailed across the sea

Then out from the Ivy Leagues of Yale Bill Buckley lifted his pen
A conservative neo-fascist right-wing American
He said Jim Dickson never could appreciate the sea
"Without the eyes that I have, how can you do like me?"
Jim Dickson responded to Buckley, "Oh, who are you to say
What I can and can't appreciate, as I travel on my way?
You may have 20/20, your rods and cones all fine
But your vision of the future is not half as keen as mine."

CHORUS:
To sail across the sea in a boat at your command
To sail across the sea and say goodbye to land
Jim Dickson was his name,
And his ees they could not see
But his message focused clearly
As he sailed across the sea

Some people see the se with eyes, some people hear the waves
We all perceive the world around in many different ways
In Buckley's world there are barriers that anchor you in sand
But he could not keep Jim Dickson malingering on the land
The whole thing went on Nightline, the Dickson-Buckley debate
Buckley said that the blind could not "appreciate ballet"
And as we watched we could not help but hear the words they say
As Buckley and Koppel pontificated in a patronizing way

CHORUS:
To sail across the sea in a boat at your command
To sail across the sea and say goodbye to land
Jim Dickson was his name,
And his ees they could not see
But his message focused clearly
As he sailed across the sea