Remember the 60’s?
I remember the sixties. I was there.
It was a time of The Beatles and the “British Invasion”… Bob Dylan and Jimmy Hendrix and Janice Joplin and The Beach Boys… Woodstock… a time of love-ins… of long hair and smoking pot and experimenting with hallucinogens…
It was a period of time when the guys and girls of my age were in universities all over the world, staging sit-ins and taking over university grounds to protest nuclear armament… anti-establishmentarianism. We were fighting for our rights and our futures and the futures of our future children… bucking against the power struggles that threatened our valued western-freedom-way-of-life, and the corruption, and the politics, and the power-holds of the insurance companies and the banks and the unions.
So, here we are, about a half century later, and where are we, really?
Our parents didn’t lock our doors or worry about how their children (us) were getting home or who could kidnap or attack us.
We, the do-gooders, the protesters, the anti-establishment diplomats…
WE ARE NOW THE POLITICIANS MAKING FRIVOLOUS PROMISES SO WE CAN BUY INTO SO AS TO STAY IN POWER…
WE ARE NOW THE BANKERS, THE PRESIDENTS OF DRUG COMPANIES, THE CONSTRUCTION GIANTS, THE TRADERS IN ARMS, THE GENERALS OF ARMIES…
WE ARE THOSE PEOPLE WE FOUGHT NOT TO BE! WE BECAME THEM. AND WORSE THAN THAT… WE ARE THE TIGERS, MAKING THEM LOOK LIKE PUSSYCATS, NEXT TO WHAT WE HAVE DONE TO OUR SOCIETY.
WE ARE NOW AFRAID TO HAVE OUR CHILDREN GO OUT ALONE. WE ARE AFRAID OF GOING OUT ALONE OURSELVES. WE ARE AFRAID OF BEING IN A CROWD FOR FEAR SOMEONE WILL EXPLODE THEMSELVES AND TAKE US OUT.
And today, it seems, there is no one to stand up against them. Maybe our children SHOULD learn that they too must become piranhas if they are to survive in the pool of life. And everybody is fair game as a meal.
Is it sad? Is it scary?
Am I saying what it seems every older person has ever said before, that the “good old days” are gone and the change is not so good?
Not at all. The “good old days” weren’t that good back then. Today it may seem like it because there are so many bad things to make into memories in the future, but that’s the way it is with memories. Memories are pliable. They change sometimes. And when I remember what we thought and believed and fought for and fought against back then, and when I see what we have done for so many years after all that, I regret the memories I have of the past.
It would be easier on me if I didn’t remember the past because then the present wouldn’t hurt so much and the future wouldn’t be so frightening.
So, what now? What can we do? Elect someone like Donald Trump into the most powerful office in the world? How could we justify this to our children and grandchildren?
As a Canadian, it’s easy for me to step back and say, “The Americans are exactly what Trump says they are... STUPID!” That would be the “Stupid” electing the “Insipid” and I take no responsibility for this because it isn’t me who did this.
I’m also the guy who didn’t elect Mr. Trudeau. I didn’t create terrorism, anti-Semitism, hunger, war... you get it – I get it – and here’s the worst part of all... I did nothing to stop it either. Why? Because I didn’t know how to stop it.
But the burning question that rides my back is... “If I had known how to change any of these, would I have even tried?”
This kills me because I am still just wondering, and doing nothing. So I guess the questions are answered.
So, if you think being dumped by a lover, burying a friend or relative, losing a job, or being told you have an incurable disease are things which would depress you, what would carrying the burden of having done nothing to improve our world feel like?
I’m in the fall season of my years. Where are you? What can you do? What are you willing to take on?
What’s it going to take?
Remember the sixties or not - today are your sixties. What will you remember?