What's become of my generation?
We children of the '60s, as I recall, were going to change everything that was wrong with the world. We were prompted by an ugly war in Asia to wage a lasting peace; we were going to live in communes growing our own organic food and where love was free (but never cheap); we were going to forsake materialism as best as we could, living off the land in our frayed blue jeans, tie-dyes and red bandannas, or else make an honorable living by altruistically helping others as doctors, farmers or folk singing musicians.
And we were all going to get along. That idea — that idealism — underscored everything, it seemed.
It sounded good at the time.
Now, decades later, with Ferguson, MO, sending us faded signals from a distant — but not too distant — era that righteous civil disobedience begets the change we seek. And, historically, it almost always has. A part of me feels we've come a long way in race relations in my own lifetime; another part of me is wondering when we're going to take the meaningful crucial step.
The war in Asia has been replaced by conflict in the Middle East, fueled by extremism, arrogance and culture clash.
Wall Street has become more important to maintaining our 401k's than Ventura Highway ever did in maintaining our dreams. So much for forsaking materialism when your retirement is hanging in the balance.
Perhaps we took a questionable turn somewhere along the way and we probably never knew we did. Each time we nobly try to rise above our own human nature ("human nature" can explain a lot our actions, if not actually excuse those actions), human nature reaches up to pull us back down by the ankles.
The idealism of my generation that was going to change everything surrendered to unrelenting reality, which I guess was inevitable.
At least, I think, we made a decent attempt to change the world. If nothing else, we got some great music out of it. And Star Trek.
I've been thinking out loud here, so excuse me if I think I can carry some of that idealism with me still. Changing the world is clearly asking for too much and I don't mean to be preachy about it. But maybe I can nudge myself to head in a different direction, similar to the one I — we — saw in the 60s. Maybe it'll turn out to be that it's the direction in which we travel that actually matters.