Saturday, March 12, 2016

Flower Power or Round-Up?

Just watched (in horror) a Trump rally in Ohio, live streamed on YouTube.  And here is my musing on that:

1980, Washington, DC:  National Mall, big crowd for the 4th of July celebration.  But it wasn't a good feeling type of patriotism to me.  There was an ugly vibe in the crowd.  Reagan had come to power.  There were people wearing tee-shirts that said "Fuck Iran", and I looked around, still very young (18) and naive, and having thought up until that moment that, when my generation grew up, everything was going to be flower power and kumbaya, and I realized:  oh my God, people my age all liberal and progressive and about peace, love and rock and roll, like the lyrics of our music would have one think.  What is going on here?

What was going on was the birth of the Reagan Era.  And now it is in its death throes, and the type of person who wore the "Fuck Iran" tee-shirts back in 1980 is the same type of person at the Trump rallies today. It's exactly the same vibe, the same feeling, as I felt surrounding me on that July 4th, 1980, on the National Mall.  It is an ugly, xenophobic, macho, "us and them" vibe.  It terrified me then and it terrifies me now.

I am not the same naive girl I was then, so even though I see so many hopeful signs in our country, I realize that that ugly element is still there, too.  And I can never get complacent.  Even if Bernie wins the general election and becomes president, even if we elect a great congress at the mid-terms to work with him, even if our country makes great strides toward economic and ethical health as a culture, that ugly element that is all about xenophobia, fear, bigotry and hate will always be a part of us, too.  Because, tragically, that ugly potential has always been and will always be a part of humanity.  So even if flower power were to rule throughout the land, there are always those who would try to spray Round-Up on it, on us, if given half a chance.

We have the potential for great good, and we have the potential for great evil.  The laws of this great nation are such--the constitution is such--that it makes it very hard for us to go the evil route for too long, though we have done it (slavery, the Japanese internment during WWII, different groups having to fight for civil rights, etc.).  The internal compass of our nation is geared toward good as our true north.  But it is up to each of us to fight for that, to safeguard that.  Like a garden, our country needs constant tending in order to be healthy and thrive.  Let us not forget that.  Let us speak up for flower power, even when others scream for Round-Up, and rounding up.

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