Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday Topics - Summer of Love, 40 years later

It was to be a "Gathering of the Tribes." The Human Be-In featured Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Richard (Ram Dass) Alpert, Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel, Jerry Ruben, and All SF Rock Bands January 14, 1967, 1 to 5 pm in Golden Gate Park. 30,000 people showed up. Thus began the Summer of Love.

It was a nano-second in a decade of turmoil. For those of us who came of age in the sixties, this is what we faced: racism; sexism; class differences; political upheavel; the assassinations of President Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.; televised nightly body counts of soldiers killed in action in Viet Nam.

We got high to expand our consciousness - turning on, tuning in, and dropping out until drugs became so commonplace that it was easier than going drinking. Then we just got high. We just turned on and dropped out.

By my freshman year of college, 1967, 400,000 troops had been sent to Viet Nam. We watched Buddhist monks self-immolate as a political statement about conditions in Viet Nam. North and South Viet Nam were in a Civil War, and our Government had chosen sides. We burned draft cards. Our young men moved to Canada to avoid the draft. We lived in communes, and we had compassion. Eventually, our protests brought down a President, forcing Lyndon Johnson to not run for re-election.

Forty years later, many of us are successful, wealthy and suffer from compassion fatigue. Among my friends are Viet Nam Vets, and they suffer terribly from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They are just finding their way into mental health programs that the government really didn't tell them about; they learn of the programs by word of mouth.

You would think that after all we went through in the Viet Nam years, our Nation and our elected leaders would have learned what paths to avoid. Apparently not, and here we are enmeshed in another Civil War, letting our soldiers kill and be killed, for nothing.

If you have not joined One Million Blogs for Peace, why not? Use your voice. Use your considerable power of conviction to bring an end to this unlawful war, and this unlawful Regime in Washington.


Pursey Tuttweiler said...

Excellent post. It will be up to the American people. Cindy Sheehan has dropped out, she is discouraged by the attacks she gets whenever she criticizes the democrats and she is horrified by the politically expedient votes by dems to fund the war. We need to show them that we will not support any candidate who does not end this war immediately. We have to call the dems down continually and cut off their freaking funding. Why the hell does Hillary Clinton have a war chest of millions? Who is giving her that money?

mirth said...

Ditto: excellent post. Very enjoyable read.
I wish I had been a part of that time of connection and activism and committment. In spite of all that, as a country we learned nothing.

proudprogressive said...

Just journeying out loud here with you. Maybe we need to remember Kent State, along with the assinations of both Kennedys and Martin Luther King. Its indicative of the fact that perhaps the democratic party died, but didn't know it was dead..and it morphed..into the zombie psuedo people representive party we see now. They are no longer for the little guy and really by historical origin they never were. (lets leave Israel out of this for now) So they became owned by psuedo progressive pacs. ie big labor..(that morphed too) and AIPAC. Giving them a patina of being for the people BUT are they really..look at all the history of NAFTA, free trade vs fair trade and WARS continued or waged by democrats and repubublicans a like. I want to leave the left right dicotomy. I want a new model and more choices. We cannot continue to repeat and repeat this process of hoping for the mythical people's party to emerge. They are one party now..the CORPORATIONS party..OK..so in order to learn, to change..we first got to give up this notion that we will change this from within....this simply has not worked.

So my answer for now is study. Learn, read all sorts of history,seek and be that change of course. Above all do not be afraid to think outside of the box and get the flak and discomfort that comes along with that. The 60's were inconoclastic to a degree..but the job was NOT finished by long shot.

Naj said...

Hi DivaJood,

My husband and I always feel nostalgic about the 60s, we wish we were alive then (we were not even conceived though).

Where are the activists of America today? I always wonder, have we become virtual activists?

I am a postmodern child of this technology; and an avid advocate of it; and yet I find much validity in the arguments of people like Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard in their acute skepticism about our information technology.

Take "Apple" for an example. They were the anti-big brothers of the information age. And now, the vietnam protesters are all silliconed: in bank accounts if not in other places, at least.

Is there something inherent in the nature of capitalism that rots "compassion"?

I ask myself every day.

On that note, I have joined the 1m bloggers for peace, but I never hear of them. I wish I had a logo or something. any ideas?

Cartledge said...

Diva, I never actually though I would see that image again. It was a long time ago, and here in Australia it was my summer of politics - supporting a constitutional amendment to give our indigenous people recognition.
Sadly we won and the Australian people were able to return to their slumber with a clear conscience. Forty years on I’m still ashamed of failing to recognize how doing the right thing can become so disastrous.
But somehow, while promoting bands here, doing gigs and politics I missed the love bit.
Very nostalgic however, a great post.

robin andrea said...

I lived through those days. I watched JFK be buried, and the MLK and RFK murders weeks apart in 1968. I marched on Washington after Kent Sate. Part of me still believes we can change the world, part of me thinks it is (and always has been) irrevocably too late. We have never been ruthless enough to take power, and power-takers always win. It's nice remembering those good ol' days though. The 60s was truly as near to revolution as we've been in a long time.

DivaJood said...

Pursey, Cindy Sheehan has tried to make sense out of a senseless act. Her son's death in Iraq for nothing - and then vilified by both the Right and the Left - I hardly blame her. She's a hero, and she deserves answers.

Mirth, it was an incredibly volitile time, and I am glad I was part of it. Am part of it. And you're right, collectively we've learned nothing.

Proud Progressive, we need a new model, and new choices. And I'm now convinced that the only way we can get there is from within our own ranks.

Naj, email me at jkblue AT cox DOT net and I will send you code for a logo, although you can easily get the code at One Million Blogs for Peace.

Cartledge, Australia is such a bizarre place, I can never quite reconcile my conflicting emotions when I'm there. Which is usually at least once a year.

Robin Andrea, I can remember exactly what I was wearing, and where I was sitting, when I learned that JFK was dead. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when MLK was killed. And the same with RFK. They're emblazoned on my psyche like brands. Scars so deep I can't get rid of them. To that, I had to add the collapse of the Twin Towers, and the murder of my friend on 9/11.

Thorne said...

Oh, my heart. I was a baby. But I hear you and I feel you and I'm linking to this post.

DivaJood said...

Thorne, I'm too young to be old. I may have a 50-something body, but my head is still 35.

sumo said...

Diva...it's a wonder we didn't cross paths along the way...who knows maybe we did...I was the girl with the long blonde hair wearing the beads, boots and long skirt. I know at some point we breathed the same air.

Peacechick Mary said...

Excellent post, Diva. I too remember all that. I remember sitting with a stunned brain when Kennedy was shot and all the work we did to stop the illegal, useless, war then. There are times I wonder if all that work was in vain. I do think our extreme capitalist learned something too. A war is the fastest way to suck all the money out of the country and into their pockets. It is a cruel economy, indeed. I too am in compassionate overload, but still plod along. What choice have we, but to be known for who we are - Peace people.

DivaJood said...

Sumo, I'm sure we did. I was the girl with the blond "Jewfro".

Peacechick, I'm pretty sure I need to move to the mountains and grow lettuce.