Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Decade Late

Most of my life I've had the feeling that I was born a decade late.  As a child of 1966, born to parents unconcerned with the larger world picture, the turmoil, the successes, the frustrations and the anger of the times were largely lost to me.   Our parents were the disillusioned, and many passed this sense of hopelessness and helplessness on to us.  The Generation X, post Vietnam babes like me, were fed on the fears of atomic obliteration, just as we began reaching out via a new super highway of 1s and 0s.  Most of us came home to empty houses at the end of the day, the first latch-key generation of the dual income household.  We learned what we knew of our world and how to navigate the complex spectrum of human emotion watching the Mod Squad, Star Trek and Giligan's Island.  We are also the best educated of the first 13 generations in America, but we make less money as the economic pie has been plundered by the elite.  The first presidential election I remember clearly was that of Ronald Reagan.  I found him plastic, laughable and way too ancient to be running my country.  Yes, I was exhibiting the sarcasm and cynicsm often attributed to GenXers.  But like many of my generation, there was a fascination with the 60's.  We listened to Jimmi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, and I wore out more than one cassette tape of Janis Joplin.  We all knew who John Lennon was and it was in his music that I could best feel the energy, passion and dreams of that earlier generation and movement.  Last night I watched the movie The U.S. vs. John Lennon with a dear friend who did experience that time first hand.  It made me feel much closer to that experience and see my own generation in a new light.  Maybe I wasn't born too late after all.

The flower children of the sixties planted many seeds that are just beginning to bear fruit in my generation.  We're seeing the permaculture movement getting traction, locavore and vegetarian eating habits are much more common, urban homesteading is getting some starts across the country, rainbow families, alternative schooling and parenting (sans tv), an emphasis on harmony with the earth, cooperation over domination, all these ideas and more are becoming mainstream ideas.  As my generation faces midlife I hope that more and more will embrace the important values and principles that support life on this planet and abandon the ways of death being propagandized by our government.  With the aid of web technology, developed by GenXs and Ys, the world is getting smaller and we're communicating with people across the globe, witnessing atrocities first hand rather than through a mass media outlet moderated by our, or someone elses, government.  For example Twitter and the recent elections in Iran.  In real time we were getting status updates from people on the ground, personal stories and impressions, not some Fox news, made for corporate power, hogwash.  Activists here in America began to donne the green in solidarity, and do whatever other supportive actions that came along.  The World Wide Web of human connections will change us and how we do social justice actions.  Ironically the Internet was developed for military purposes, to decentralize data like launch codes so that if a missile hits one command center, another can step in and launch the counter punch.  That same strategy can work for the peace movement.  We need to take peace "viral".

In the movie John and Yoko put up large billboards in major cities across the world.  Today we need to put those billboards up all over the Internet.  We need peace signs, ads, and positive images plastered all over major sites like Yahoo, Google, YouTube, etc.  If your peace group has the money, please use some in this way.  As John said we need for every housewife to see that peace is a viable option.  The corporations may have the major networks licking their boots, but my generation and the next are the Internet.  The military might have concieved it, but we MADE it.  It is so critical that we protect this.  The FCC has tried several times already to shut it down, but we continue to demand uncensored access.  My generation doesn't have a Walter Cronkite, we have each other, our blogs and social networking.  There's already a couple examples of street protests being organized in minutes using phone texting.  There are cameras at the ready to capture images of brutality and transmit them across the world in seconds.  As Gaza was being bombed last December I recieved daily updates from Sameh Habeeb, a Palestinian.  Fearing for his life he asked his friends at Michigan Peace Team to ask eveyone they new on Facebook to link to him.  We did.  He made sure that thousands of internationals were watching him through this new connection.  He survived and is now travelling the world telling the stories.  These are just a few applications of the new world of political and social activism.  Nationalism vanishes on web and we're all just people trying help each other. 

As I reflect on the protest culture and hippie movements of the sixties I feel tremendous gratitude for their work, sacrifice and determination to change this world.  I see those seeds already taking hold in my five year old daughter and recognize that I'm only a bridge, or a stem with maybe a leaf or two.  Hopefully my daughter's generation will be the peace flower that was planted and nurtured for the past forty years.

I'll be playing plenty of Lennon to my daughter so that she can feel the stirrings of a passion for peace.

1 comment:

Tom H. Hastings said...

You were, and are, right on time.