Monday, January 17, 2005

When the pendulum swings back, make sure it doesn't smack you up the side of your head

Something just occurred to me. Maybe it's denial cranking it's gears or more accurately maybe I've come to the point where I'm starting to rationalize the nasty things that are happening in this world including the war, the rise of religious intolerance, and the denial and ignorance that persists today. I still believe that if we do not evaluate our situation or that actions that lie before us without reference to the past we're not simply doomed to make the same mistakes, we're failing to take control of our future.

We can't assume that progress is always linear. I decided that human behavior and the patterns that come from this behavior is cyclical and change happens in cycles. Let's look at the last fifty or so years in American history. The fifties was the era of economic prosperity. No one really questioned the status quo as they wanted to embody it. By the beginning of the 60s Americans were still experiencing that lack of cultural upheaval as people were still obsessed with consuming. Suddenly, Black people started realizing that this American Dream wasn't as available to them as it was to their white counterparts. They began to speak out and demand change. White Americans who felt compelled to join in the cause for Civil Rights became more involved in the movement. Naturally, the folks who felt threatened by this challenge to the old order put up some resistance in the form of violence. Your Byron De la Beckwiths, Edgar Ray Killens and similar "little klan dragons" are good examples of people who responded to the call for change with force. The Civil Rights movement gave rise to other similar movements amongst other minorities; Latinos, Gays & Women. The 60s and 70s were the nebulaic birth place of ideas and concepts regarding rights that would solidify and become commonplace values by the 80s and 90s. The 90s brought back a wave of economic prosperity. People were still wound up from the economic obsessions of the 80s. You had a sprinkling of New Ageism here and there to combat the rampant materialism, but still all and all the 90s were about consumption (of goods... not the respiratory disease). Not that being a consumer is a bad thing. I'm all for shopping and having nice things in your life, I spend a great deal of cash on things that bring me pleasure such as kitchen gadgets and good food, but I simply don't think that 'having things' or possession is the end all be all to our happiness and well-being.

Yet I digress...

So, here we are... in the midst of an era of change, which in the eyes of some is not change towards progress, and in yet another war. This is a war which even the President cannot give a definitive answer for when it should end. Though the answer is simple, it will end when the people call for it to end. That is if we still have a functioning voice at the end of his term.


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