Needed Now: Spirit of the Sixties
Editor’s Note: The dominant Washington view of the Sixties is that it was a dreadful time that infused the United States with a rebelliousness that has required several decades to be squeezed out of the population's mindset, so the people will again accept the grim burden of American Empire abroad and the loss of freedom at home.
In this guest essay, writer Vincent L. Guarisco argues that it's time for that era's idealism and rebelliousness to return:
Dear citizens of a crumbling nation, have you even noticed our country is being demolished all around us? Haven’t you noticed the pillars shaking, the foundation cracking, and debris falling everywhere?
I certainly hope so, because the Bush administration’s wrecking ball hasn’t quite finished swinging yet, so keep your equilibrium stable and your stand-post securely firm, because before it's over, there may not be much of anything left standing, or worth saving, and I don’t want to lose you.
What a waste! It really hasn’t required much effort to see what the hell has been happening here. It’s been getting steadily worse every day, for a very long time. All that was ever needed to see it daily was a simple common-sense compass pointed in any direction.
Had we not been asleep, we could have easily prevented the carnage in every sector. But since we gullibly continue to believe the lying corporate news media blowhards about how damn great everything is, and since we put our trust in leaders who repeatedly lie with every word they utter, we now find ourselves in a bloody OZ wonderland -- a screwed-up place where everyone considers all Americans fair game at home and abroad.
So hunker down, my tar-and-feathered friends, hunting season is in full swing, and we’re headed for the endangered species list. That’s right sleepyhead, we’re a perishable item confined within the construct of our own self-destructive borders.
And since so few of us now hold the key to what little flicker of hope remains, I ask you this – do you know what your post entails? Well, do you? Do you 'serve a purpose,' or just 'purposely serve'? Our fate, our future (if there is one), depends on how we answer and what we do today. We need to get off our asses and get busy!
After years of having my sensory modem continually assaulted from every direction and, with the future not looking too bright these days, sometimes I find strength and courage by searching the past for helpful solutions on how to inspire myself and others.
Knowing the heavy burden we all must bear, I can honestly say with no disillusionments, 'I know what my post entails.' My purpose is to assist others, when possible, to help them find their weary way in order to solidify a combined awareness to birth a unified force to extend peace and justice with real checks and balances for a more deserving journey in life.
True patriotism is an on-demand wild card that needs to be played from time to time. We have a solemn constitutional responsibility as American citizens to serve, protect and safeguard this great nation from all enemies foreign and domestic.
America is NOT a squatter's patch for lazy, brain-dead do-nothing zombies to sit on their asses while everything falls apart around them.
Aside from improving our daily life, our obligation includes removing any and all crazy tyrants residing at the White House, as well as those spineless rubber-stamping idiots that foul the very air they breathe in both Houses of Congress.
I am invoking an age-old citizen call-to-action. Consider yourselves drafted modern-day minutemen, obligated to awaken the masses for battle to fight the true monster at bay, the enemy within. Welcome aboard brothers and sisters, let's give the devil his due...
We've done it before, and we can do it again.
Just remember the good ol` 60's hippie days. An exciting LSD era when the youth of this nation popped its cork in front of Richard Nixon and God, and actually did something positive to change our wicked ways.
A better day existed when groovey strands of long hair served as some sort of crazy miracle potion empowering the strength of men. The longer it grew, the more you became a freak-flag Samsonite. We belonged to a kind of 'hip' Lord of the Rings fellowship that saved the day -- at least for a while -- and everyone knew without question what their post entailed.
And all the other colorful mojos didn’t hurt the process either -- bell-bottom pants, psychedelic shirts, Mexican serapes, Navajo headbands, luminous body paints, mini-skirts, love-beads, love making, wake-up bells, feathers forever in all shapes and colors and flowered friendliness that definitely changed the way the whole world thought about teenagers.
A thrilling time when virtually everyone seemed to find their own voice. Gee, I sure miss the good ol' days...
Many people have different ideas of how hippies came to be. It was a serious counterculture party-wave that swept America off its feet as the largest generation of young people were coming of age.
Mostly from middle and upper class, they came from everywhere with a well-deserved sense of dignity and self-respect for what they believed in. They valued peace, love, and personal freedom in a way that reached far beyond the confines of establishment rules.
Ah, 1967 -- the summer of love, a culture extravaganza overflowing with honorable people who felt the world should live as one in peace and harmony. It was a compassionate calling for all segments of our society to come together as one to resist and prevent the cycle of war, violence and modern-day slavery.
However, as history has proven time and again, nothing is ever earned or given without its fair share of blood, sweat and tears with a lot of hard sacrifice.
And the sixties movement was no different in terms of 'paying its dues.'
Berkeley University is only one example of some of the most violent student protests that happened during the Vietnam War. And the uproar was not limited to just ending the war.
The middle finger was directly pointed towards University administrations as well, for a variety of legitimate reasons. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement resulted in many arrests in its struggle. In fact, it had the largest number of student arrests in United States history.
Like an army of hungry vultures, 700 angry policemen wielding clubs and spraying mace descended on the University during a peaceful day of protest and instigated a full-blown riot, assaulting dissenters (and news anchors) whose only crime was simply exercising their constitutional right to peaceably dissent in a public forum.
Many were beaten unconscious in this shameless display of unnecessary violence. Only one day of many to remember in our nation's history.
Sometimes, I can still hear the echo of the words afterwards. Don Brice, President of The News Director Association, rightly accused the Oakland police of being the real culprits who started the riot on purpose.
In response to Brice, actor/Governor Ronald Reagan said, 'The work of the Oakland Police Department was in the finest tradition of California’s law enforcement agencies. The officers displayed exceptional ability and great professional skill. The taking of alleged grievances to the streets cannot and will not be tolerated.'
To this day, it’s still hard to imagine Reagan later became President.
The Vietnam War was protested throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Protests, rallies and demonstrations occurred across the nation and covered many different social issues -- civil rights, women’s rights, etc.
All of this happened in the midst of the harsh reality that any day we could all be drafted into a war we venomously opposed. It was a time mixed with fear as well as culture and social change that shocked the world.
We are now at yet another defining moment in our nation's history -- moments such as the Vietnam War, Cuban Missile Crisis, TET offensive, the fall of both the Berlin Wall and of Saigon, Watts Riots, Berkeley Free Speech Movement, Women’s Liberation Movement, Black Panthers, presidential assassinations, Civil Rights killings, Apollo Space Missions, Mickey Mantle, Woodstock, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Zippo lighters, Zig Zag rolling papers, Black Light Posters, High Times magazine, Cheech and Chong, Hippies, fashion lords, culture shocks, art -- you name it, you got it!
The 'be here now' generation filled America's ocean to its absolute brim...and rocked the planet. In fact, if you look real close, you can still see the Watermark left on the Crest from an everlasting journey. Whew...WHAT A FREAKIN RIDE!
Okay, my wise old gray haired friends, I know it’s a little hard to recapture that same nostalgic spark with just a quant 60's butterfly kiss, but the next time you go to shave your head (the new style these days), you may want to throw on John Lennon's old album 'Imagine' for inspiration.
It's better then doing nothing while waiting for a cup of porridge with ankle irons strapped on at a FEMA camp.
Please tell me the hopes of yesterday have not all gone up in smoke. Take notice old flowered ones, the times are a'changing, and for the worse. Our nation needs us, and our reputation at home and around the globe is as dry as dry can get.
So either get with the program and find your patriotic post, or punch me in the dead-spot until I die. Because I refuse to sit idly by and do nothing while waiting to get rounded up as an 'enemy combatant' by jack-booted Blackwater mercenaries and have a microchip shoved up my ass. So...Lose the kick-stand and Reeve-up the motors, It’s time to mount up and ride...
Vincent L. Guarisco is a freelance writer from Bullhead City, Arizona, a contributing writer for many Web sites, and a lifetime member of the Alliance of Atomic Veterans. Replies welcomed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. (To make a blog comment about this or other stories, you can use your normal e-mail address and password. Ignore the prompt for a Google account.) To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.
Back to Home Page