The Enchantment of the 60’s Idealism
Idealism that will one day win out!
Pappa was a Democrat and Daddy a Republican like most of the adults in the family. One of the highlights for me at a typical holiday gathering would be listening to them engage in passionate and heated conversations about the issues of the day. Pappa’s “Serbo-Croato-Slovenian” dialect (his home country was Yugoslavia) was an equal match for the underlying German tone that was detected in Daddy’s northern accent when their opinions collided into a wall of immovable conviction. Each endeavored to convey their point of view about what was best for a society by backing up allegiance to their thoughts with actual facts. Both sides were persuasive and contained merit. On many counts they accepted one another’s stance with genuine respect often times winning the other to their case.
I’d sit quietly and listen always pondering, ever masticating the context of their words like a cow chewing cud in order to determine for myself whose side won the argument. At the end of the day neither won. It was not a contest for who was right and who was wrong, but how they could integrate one another’s thoughts into their own ideologies. They were always best of friends who worked side by side on the combined 160 acres of farmland that the two families possessed. Watching and listening to them I learn that people can hold and share differing principles about life and they can actually live cohesively without condemning, judging, or lying about the other because they think differently.
America was a much different place then; it was the 60’s. The same theme was in the minds of society then as it is today; inequality at all ends of the spectrum but debated with much less hostility. Daddy would often make the statement after a discouraging set back on the farm, “the rich keep getting richer while the poor get poorer.” At times we’d hear comments that eluded to religious hypocrisy but the prominent scourge on the human consciousness then was racial prejudice, a terrible stain in the soul of those who were obsessed with it.
Some 45-50 years later what I learned from those days is that somewhere in between all the creeds and dogmas of faith and politics lies a beautiful place of human compassion and the ability to relate to one another on the same level. It’s that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” thing. When we see someone we love in trouble, we generally do what we can to aid in making life better. Most likely there is a majority that have a genuine love for the people of the United States and long to see better days. So many in our country are caught in the crossfire of corporate manipulation and greed, religious paroxysm and zeal, and political indignation for many of our beloved citizens—sectors that our legislators believe do not measure up to their own abhorrent standard of life, in their eyes disqualifying them from the blessings of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Who can look at the condition of America and not see that our internal struggles are becoming extremely detrimental to the welfare of our society? Haven’t we all watched the light in our Statue of Liberty fade, with the evidence that our own policies are destroying lives not only in America but across the world? We are becoming like those we have been battling for decades, and our lip service of human rights is belied by our actions of torture and hypocritical policies of “stand your ground” and unrestrictive gun laws. Cultural terrorism, violence, hatred, and the like permeate our states and metropolitan cities. Laws are no longer of government but rather are of persons—those who pay to escape prosecution, bringing no justice for their victims. We do not do what we say. Our light is going out. But there remains a spark!
Humanity is beautiful, and God’s creation is glorious! The resilience in the soul of mankind (and those in our animal family) is a constant reminder that there is hope for the masses who are faced with seemingly insurmountable life circumstances in the midst of today’s tumultuous American climate. With that hope comes a challenge for those who are in a position to forge a new vision, present that vision, and then lend a hand to help others move to a better place in life.
A return to the enchantment of the 60’s would bring a refreshing wave of expectation and purpose many long for. That magical “something” that was in the hearts of the young during those days was real. The lyrics in the songs that spoke of love and freedom , the display of honest and sincere rebellion to the narrow minded pursuits of the day, and the activism that elicited the longing in the hearts of many that didn’t have the courage to join such a movement, caused many to silently rally the courageous onward.
Such a movement is in the making. It’s on the horizon. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Will you join it?