Are We Going Through Another 1960’s?

By Viking Reverend
November 3, 2011

40 years ago I said “Right message, wrong messenger!” concerning the anti-war protests I attended at Berkeley and San Francisco California since I was 12 years old. My friends thought I was nuts and speaking against my fellow rally supporters, but nothing could be farther from the truth. When demonstrating against war it looks a bit foolish, even to a young teen, to be fighting with each other, burning bonfires of collected debris and vandalizing property.

Where is the sanity in that? A ‘Peace Rally’ should be just that, a demonstration of peace, not angst and fighting amongst each other. When I read this morning’s Associated Press release I was dismayed at the following:

“In New York, about 100 military veterans marched in uniform and stopped in front of the New York Stock Exchange, standing in loose formation as police officers on scooters separated them from the entrance. On the other side was a lineup of NYPD horses carrying officers with nightsticks.
“We are marching to express support for our brother, (Iraq war veteran) Scott Olsen, who was injured in Oakland,” said Jerry Bordeleau, a former Army specialist who served in Iraq through 2009.
The veterans were also angry that returned from war to find few job prospects.
“Wall Street corporations have played a big role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Bordeleau, now a college student. He said private contractors have reaped big profits in those countries.”-(1)

Then again, what do you expect from those veteran’s who have served our country only to come home to a jobless, destitute society? At least I could find a job of my choice when I came home from Viet Nam. The “Occupy Wall Street” rally that began this last September has, like any ongoing, long term protest, turned into something the original organizers never expected nor had in mind. Sort of like “Woodstock” 40 plus years ago, organizers wondering if anyone would show up to being completely overwhelmed and inundated with a crowd of unprecedented size and voracious needs.

All too often good intentions turn into something out of hand and nowhere near the originating party’s plan for any social outcry. Add in a mix of bad weather, hunger, alcohol, drugs and wonton disregard for authority and you might as well use C4 plastic explosives to open a can of beans. Things quite literally get totally out of anyone’s control, good intentions or not.

So again, I find myself surmising if we have a repeat of history in the “Right message, wrong messengers!”
There is no doubt, regardless of what some on Capitol Hill may think, that we have a backward economy brought on by the greed and ‘me first’ attitude of capitalism. We have a few at the top who can’t see the problem because they are reaping the profits while everyone else is left in the bloodied waters of an egregious feeding frenzy. Like a pyramid, the lower tiers that support that pointed pinnacle are exponentially greater in size and face the challenges of keeping that pinpoint from falling to the ground. Well things have deteriorated to such a degree that our once grand pyramid is crashing down around us.

We need to do some expedient damage control at this place in time and get our government and civic leaders to do something instead of riding the collapse to the ground like a rodeo cowboy. We then need the long term, well planned, expertly conceived rebuilding plan to come into action and reverse this insane implosion of our Great Society. No matters what it says on paper in Washington, D.C., all any politician need do is look out their window for the real picture of what has been going on for decades. The rubble and chaos of our once great nation should be obvious even to those blinded by the political and corporate malfeasance of their own making.

As far as our “Occupy Wall Street” crowd goes, there’s no crystal ball needed to see what bank bailouts, corrupt government officials, nepotism in the corporate structure and even crony capitalism has done to America. Or, for that matter, to see that what began as a credible and fact supported protest against this menace has quickly been taken over by anarchists and criminals that will use any rationale to create havoc and perpetuate violence. As I read further in the same article:

-“(Oakland) City officials later released a statement describing the spasm of unrest.
“Oakland Police responded to a late night call that protesters had broken into and occupied a downtown building and set several simultaneous fires,” the statement read. “The protesters began hurling rocks, explosives, bottles, and flaming objects at responding officers.”
Several businesses were heavily vandalized. Dozens of protesters wielding shields were surrounded and arrested.
Protesters and police faced off in an uneasy standoff until the wee hours of the morning.
In Philadelphia, protesters were arrested earlier Wednesday as they held a sit-in at the headquarters of cable giant Comcast.”- (1)

Any protest or demonstration that turns violent merely turns all sides against the middle. Nothing except the restoration of civility is in order so regardless of the good intentions of the organizers, their message is lost due to the actions of the messengers.

However, I don’t think it’s too late to get things back on track and bring America back to its once shiny visage of being a good example to the World. There’s nothing wrong with capitalism done correctly, but there is a lot wrong with unbridled greed and excessive corruption in our financial markets.

-“In Boston, college students and union workers marched on Bank of America offices, the Harvard Club and the Statehouse to protest the nation’s burgeoning student debt crisis. They said total outstanding student loans exceed credit card debt, increase by $1 million every six minutes and will reach $1 trillion this year, potentially undermining the economy.
“There are so many students that are trying to get jobs and go on with their lives,” said Sarvenaz Asasy, of Boston, who joined the march after recently graduating with a master’s degree and $60,000 in loan debt. “They’ve educated themselves and there are no jobs and we’re paying tons of student loans. For what?”
And among the other protests in Oakland, parents and their kids, some in strollers, joined in by forming a “children’s brigade.”
“There’s absolutely something wrong with the system,” said Jessica Medina, a single mother who attends school part time and works at an Oakland cafe. “We need to change that.”- (1)

Yes, indeed, we need to change the face of Capitalism from a scowling mug, smeared with grossly excessive condiments on the Cheeseburger of Life, back to one of the reassuring smile and bright eyes of Democracy. America has never been perfect, not even the one envisioned by our founding fathers, nor has it always been the most compassionate and understanding. However, it has had its moments of being the Greatest Country on Earth and an example of how, when things are done right, a society can in fact have its cake and eat it too.

I don’t agree with all the ‘hows’ of our coming into being a nation, by stealing the lands of peoples who had been here for millennium, by building it up on slave labor and accepting egregious behavior as an attribute. But we must keep one thing in mind, that was then and this is now. It’s up to our generations to facilitate change and making of this country what we can. It’s up to our contemporary society to decide when enough is enough, and not “More!” as some capitalists would have us believe. There is not one iota of change we can make for the past.

The only thing we can do is create a future that has learned its lessons from the past and make sure the things, we are not proud of, never happen again.

We don’t create a brighter future through destruction and mayhem. It’s done through constructive thinking and people willing to put in the hard work, sweat of brow and temporary, minor discomforts for a quality of life in our latter years. Like anything of quality it’s not done overnight or in a heartbeat, to craft a Nation, worthy of our ideals, it takes time and a collective effort. Otherwise, we have what we have today, a repeat of the 1960’s demonstrations that did make change, just not the one’s we intended.

That’s not good enough for me, how about you?

Blessings of Peace,

(1) AP News: by Terence Chea, Lisa Leff and Terry Collins


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