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Posts Tagged ‘March For Our Lives’

While writing a reply to comment made on yesterday’s blog early this morning, I stated that for me, there was a connection with energy of these young people that were behind this weekend’s March For Our Lives and that of the presidential campaign of RFK in 1968. I was only 9 years old but was fully aware of RFK , watching intently every day as his campaign was covered on the evening news, in our case NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report.

Robert Kennedy campaigning for a seat in the Senate, 1964. Elmira, NY

His youthfulness stood in stark contrast to the other politicians that I saw such as LBJ and Nixon, older stodgy looking men in dark suits. Kennedy looked young enough to be their sons and the crowds that turned out to see him were always filled with kids. Many photos of his campaigns show him standing amid swarms of young people. One of my favorites is from his 1964 senate campaign, with him in a shopping plaza in my hometown that I know well. He is standing in car with his shirtsleeves rolled up with a crowd of kids reaching out to shake his hands.

The idea of dreaming things that never were and thinking they could actually happen still seemed like a possibility in those moments. And why not? We were on the brink of putting a man on the moon, something that only a few years before seemed impossible. We had passed sweeping Civil Rights legislation, overcoming centuries of ingrained prejudice and the darkest efforts of those who claimed supremacy.

Anything was possible.

And that thought is what seems to be taking root in these kids. They don’t feel bound to history. They see only the present and the future and in that, they recognize that they will be the ones occupying the future.

Why simply accept the wreckage we are leaving them as our legacy? Why not make it a time and a place of their own making? Their vision, their world. Not one forged by old men who only see things in terms of money and privilege.

Why not, indeed.

 

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It was not hard to see the contrast yesterday between the attitude of the oceans of youth that swarmed cities around this country during the March For Our Lives and that of the nation’s current governing party.

These kids are amazing. Stunning, really. They are smart, focused and savvy in the ways of media that goes well beyond their years. They have boldness and strength, a clear-eyed vision of rightness and a true sense of serving the greater good. There is a guileless purity to them that is refreshing and clarifying.

Now contrast that to the politicians who stand opposed to their agenda. The words that spring to my mind are words like cowardly and greedy and self-serving and evasive and deceptive and amoral. Corrupt in every sense of the word. Their craven attitude is bringing this country to the brink of a disaster, enabling a transformation of our democracy that may be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

As Andrew Sullivan deduces in his review this week of the book Can It Happen Here: Authoritarianism in America, it may already have happened and we just haven’t recognized it yet.

It’s hard for me to not think that we at this moment in history are standing on the middle of the yin yang symbol above and we could go either way, into light or into darkness. We need to decide right now whether we want concede our future to those who think nothing of selling that future to the highest bidder and lying to us about doing so.

If the great numbers of people somehow are offended by these kids’ call to action, if they prefer to stand behind the craven cowards in congress and in the white house — neither deserve capital letters in my opinion–then I fear we have already moved into the darkness.

But for today, in the wake of yesterday’s demonstration, I see a little light. I have always been disappointed by the youth vote in this country but I have hope that these kids can take the lead to make it the force it should be. If they can unite behind a few issues they have the numbers and power to change this country. The future is their’s if they choose to take it.

I hope yesterday was the beginning of that recognition in this new generation, as well as in the older generations, like mine, who have been asleep at the switch for much too long.

Okay, for this week’s Sunday morning music I am going back to another turbulent point in our history, the 1960’s and anti-war movement in the wake of the assassinations of MLK and RFK. Here’s some Canned Heat from Woodstock in 1969 doing A Change Is Gonna Come.

Have a good day. But think about which way you want things to go and do something to push it that way. Take a page from these kids– get off your butts and make the world the way you want it.

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