I don’t follow politics regularly, but recently I’ve had more time to listen to announcers of “the news” discuss political movements, like the “Tea-Party”.
I’ve watched “it” form and blossom, presented by the media, as a “people’s movement”. I’m old enough to remember the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement, the Get-Rid-of-Nixon-Watergate Movement; so I watch with some interest in this new “party”.
Last night there was a program on reviewing the massive resistance movement in my area during the late 50’s. Since I was only in the 4th grade, I don’t remember much about it. Looking at the black and white scenes I remember the people dressing like that, talking like that and even some of the names of the talking heads. I’m impressed with the patience and polite manner these children handled those explosive times.
I don’t remember my parents talking about integration or segregation, but I’m sure they were opposed to change. My father hob-knobbed with people in power, those who were trying to stop, what seemed to me, to be a normal situation; kids getting an education.
I lived the normal suburban milk toast dream and the only association I had with people of color was minimal. Waiter, maids, and yard maintenance people were all that I saw. “They” were always polite but aloof, and disappeared quickly from my world. By the time I got to high school, there were a few “Negros” in my classes, but they kept together, which is the way in high school, when like-minded folks form their own clubs, teams, associations, fraternities, or cliques.
The first “real” communication with a boy, who lived on the other side of Broad Street, was in a band. He went to my high school, but I didn’t know him or hang around where he did or buy my clothes at the same stores or eat at the same slop joint or go to the same movie theaters or (god forbid) date the same girls. What drew us together was music.
He provided our simple minds with the feeling, the guts of music. We had all played the notes, but he brought the soul to the sound. For a short period of time, we soaked up his influence while making our parents horrified.
After high school, he didn’t go to college like the rest of us. He was drafted and died in Vietnam.
Which brings the “anti-war” movement. This one did affect me. I wasn’t aware of how long this build up had gone on. I was aware that I was of an age to join the fray. This was not the Second World War, or the Korean conflict, this was Vietnam and the government needed young men to slog through rice patties and get shot at; none of that sounded exciting to me.
My little conservative burg that was still celebrating losing a war one hundred years earlier, didn’t discuss the actions overseas or it’s affect on their families. The boys who were too poor or dumb to get into college were drafted. Some volunteered to do the right patriotic duty, but it was mostly to get a paying job.
Having an art background and enjoying meeting girls, I would sit in basements making posters with other hippies. We would talk about ideals while under a cloak of music and smoke. A few would walk down to the state capitol and back. A few would gather in the park to sing songs and talk the talk, but we were behind the times and never became an organized force.
We didn’t march on Washington, we didn’t get tear-gassed, and we didn’t go to jail. What we did do was stay in school using a student deferment to keep our easy lifestyle going.
I was lucky, but the political awareness began while the war continued. Elected officials were being revealed for doing unspeakable acts. This behavior had probably always existed, but with nightly television repeating the same story over and over, a wave of protest started in the middle class.
It was felt the people had spoken and no one was listening. I sent money to organizations and wore buttons to show my affiliations, but still worked for a conservative media presenter. My friends could not believe I would stay in such a place, but I didn’t buy their views. It was a job.
One of my workmates enlisted me to join him and others in taking trips to Washington to lobby for good American values. We would wander the maze of opulence stating our case for a few moments time to people who, in our naive opinion, could make a difference. We prided ourselves on the effort, but saw no affects of our mission.
It’s all about the numbers. And money!
If you have enough of both, “they” will listen.
So I watch the “Tea-Party” state their cases with some disenchantment. I applaud their effort, am confused by their disjointed messages, and hope that a third party might shake things up and get this country out of its rut.
Every night people talk about the government spending too much money and should be focused on creating jobs. How can the government create jobs?? The only way governments can create jobs is hire more government. Look around. How many people you know work for some sort of governmental organization. And once all these folks are hired, what do you do with the rest of the country?
Doesn’t anyone see the common sense method of smaller government? Don’t pay for it. I pay my taxes and the salaries of all my friends from my meager funds. We all do. And if we didn’t, government would come to a halt. No more laws, no more rules, no more hand-outs, no more building projects, no more space investigation, no more (dare I say it) wars.
Yes, that’s right boys and girls; we don’t go to war with the people of another country. They are just like us. We go to war for beliefs, alliances, following banners that proclaim our side is right and better than their side.
Oh My Gosh, how did I get here? I guess, since the sun is up now, I should get off the soapbox and do my taxes.