Talkin’ To My Generation

More than half a million protestors gather on Pennsylvania Ave. in DC, 1969

We need to talk.

Recently, as you no doubt have noticed, the US Senate slipped into the hands of some particularly terrible people, and of course there was that election mishap that gave them the perfect mouthpiece, a man so profoundly stupid, vulgar and hateful that there scarcely words to do him justice. The Republic is in crisis, war and rumors of war persist after 18 years of war, every sort of bigotry flourishes in ever quarter, and many of us, the generation that brought down two presidents and ended a 15 year long war, profess paralysis largely due to the fact that the tool (I refuse to call him “man” or “president,” because I don’t recognize him as either) continues to run roughshod over our institutions and “gets away with it every time.”

I keep hearing how “powerful” he is, how “unstoppable” he is, even though it is his enablers in Congress — largely the GOP-controlled Senate, who give him that power and/or refuse to restrain him or remove him from office.

The best my generation can do now is to argue over whether or not the young idealists who have taken control of the House of Representatives “know what they’re doing” or not.

Hey, ya’ll: They’re at least doing something. What are you doing besides wringing your hands, clutching your pearls, grabbing for the smelling salts? Some of you (I recall there were quite a few of us out in the streets in the late 1960s breaking things, making trouble, lighting the fuse), need I repeat, helped unseat two presidents (Nixon and Johnson, in case you’ve forgotten), and helped end the Vietnam War.

Then, like it had just been sex, you lit up a smoke, took a long drag and…fell asleep.

It’s been a long nap. Your smoldering joint has set the goddam house on fire.

Oh, it wasn’t you, it was them? Really? Apathy kills. You started the fire and fell asleep.

Our children and grandchildren have taken up the torch we dropped (some of us, I won’t cop to that charge because I am the one lodging it), and they are at least trying to save the Republic — and the planet. Where are you now that they need you? Sitting around with, as William Burroughs once wrote, “fat stomachs and responsible jobs,” or enjoying retirement which probably includes Social Security benefits and Medicare, shaking your heads over the young Turks who are so…so…radical?

Wake up! Our children and their children and our children’s children’s children need us. What’s stopping you? You who have nothing to lose but your children’s future? No, seriously, what do we have to lose by returning to our own radical roots for a minute, which is as long as it would take to knock this shit back into line. We’re all a good three-quarters of the way through our lifetimes, maybe even farther, and really we have nothing to lose but the future, which we won’t be living in anyway (well some of us might, medical science has made great strides and maybe we’re not all as old as we think or feel or act), but at least for our children, maybe you could get up, stand up,

Weren’t we the people who were “born to be wild”?

“I can’t believe how naive we were back then.”

But it was fun, wasn’t it? And it worked. The course of history was changed.

“Times have changed.”

No, you have. You’re still breathing, though. There’s still time to cement your legacy. The future needs you.

“But what can we do?”

Everything. Start now. Do anything that falls to hand.

“By plane, car, horse, camel, elephant. tractor, bicycle and steamroller, on foot, skis, sled, crutch and pogo stick [they] storm the frontiers, demanding with inflexible authority asylum from ‘the unspeakable conditions obtaining in Freeland.”

That’s us coming. Picture it.

This is not a joke. This is also not a test.

For our children’s children’s children.

Writer, activist, novelist, sixth generation DC, local historian-storyteller, and 1:1 patient care technician five days a week.

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