Once I finish writing this post I will never reread it again. At least until I publish it out onto the internet where we know nothing ever dies. The reason being is that this will be one of those brilliant late night inspired thought posts, you know the ones where just as you are nodding off you have a divine vision to save all of humanity before you fall asleep and forget it forever?
Well, this time I didn’t give myself a chance to forget it. This time I got my ass out of bed and opened up my laptop and just started typing. What will come of this I don’t know, and if it will even hit the same chord in you out there as it did me is anyone’s guess. But here it is uncensored and unfiltered.
My brain, ladies and gentlemen.
When I hit middle school, the sixties came back with a vengeance. Everything was hippies and flower power peace signs, bell bottoms and tye dye. And the more the fashion hit us kids, the more we wanted to learn about the people who it originated from.
We were bombarded with the black and white or sepia pictures with these masses of ragtag kids protesting the powers what be. These fringed people standing tall with nothing more than signs and smiles against armored army men, they became this grand romantic vision for me.
How I longed for some giant wrong to stand against looking at these people I considered heroes. I just knew given the chance I would be standing with them, so sure I would be standing along side the good guys. Just like we’re all so sure that we would stand firm against Hitler the second he mentioned offing the Jews, right?
It wasn’t until high school that I learned the bland term for hippies and their movement was actually Counter Culture. Literally meaning a counter to the what was then the acceptable cultural norm. Then I also learned the deeper bits that showed that their movement wasn’t always so sweet and lovey.
My uncle is a Vietnam veteran who was shot in the neck, and I can only imagine how he was treated coming home with this entire movement calling him a mercenary baby killer. Totally defeating the purpose of a movement based on pure love.
What is most telling though is that after he was honorably discharged from service and awarded the purple heart, this man left his family and his great Colonel of a father and actually joined them! My uncle turned hippie, so the family rumor goes, and even joined a commune. This movement was so powerful as to turn a man, practically raised in the military from infancy, into a man protesting for peace.
And it is still so powerful that it influences a whole new counter culture today. Not one so much rooted in love as the literal countering of any sort of pop culture that is. So rather than encompassing every person of every possible background into one massive group for peace and the greater good, you have yet another group that says it’s us or them.
You can either like what we like and say is cool, or you can be a mindless poser and like what the masses like. Even though we conform to a strict set of cultural obligations just like they do, we are totally original and open minded. Because we’re different and we don’t fall for the same crap those other posers do.
You do not get to come out and repeat the exact same rules of society with one or two minor variations and say you have got something completely new. Darlin’, Sherlock himself said there is nothing new under the sun, and you are not smarter than Sherlock.
You want to know what is really novel, or at least rare for America today? Fucking love.
I bet you just groaned at me, didn’t you? Because you have it so programmed into your very American being that love is weakness your eyes could not help but roll so far back that you can now see your own brain. Well, I fucking beg to fucking differ!
It is so terribly easy to be pissed at someone, to hate and blame them for shit that they can’t defend themselves from. It is so easy and so common that when we stub our own toes we don’t stop and think, oh crap I guess I misjudged the distance there. No, we bitch at a fucking inanimate object like it had something to do with it.
You are so programmed against love that if you even see the word outside of something marketed around Valentines Day you literally have no use for it. Like love doesn’t exist outside of one brief consumable need once a year. Or some social obligation like birthdays or other such holidays.
But make no mistake, love is nothing but strength. Seriously take this moment right now and imagine your worst enemy, the person who has hurt you the most in the worst possible way.
Take these next five seconds and send them a sincere and heartfelt kind thought. Any at all will do.
Was that easy? Could you even stomach the thought of any ounce of warmth or joy falling upon them instead of you their victim?
If you could, how do you feel afterward? Sickened? Weird? Faintly good about yourself for just being a good person?
I endeavor every day of my life to live like that. To redirect my thoughts every time I get angry or hurt after what someone does to me, and if nothing else wish them well. Bare minimum I am like Whoopie Goldberg at the end of Sister Act saying ‘Bless You’ with every possible condescention.
It is not easy. Most days I fail and I fail hard. Get in my passenger seat and you will see how ungenerous I can be to even the poor old man who is just trying to turn in his driveway in front of me. I am no saint, but my life is all the better for it.
When I win I win big too. The times I stop to really connect with a customer rather than grumble and shuffle them along are the times I know I am really helping another human being. Not just to get them to spend their money, but to help them in the sense that sometimes I am the one smile they have gotten all day.
They tell me this freely all the time, and even the most hardened hearts warm up and smile back if you hold out long enough. For all I bitch about retail, it really shows you how much common kindness and respect for everybody matters. How important it is to life, and how much of a positive change treating someone kindly can make.
This is the real surge of counter culture we need. We need to just give up the divides and realize we are all just people. There are no republicans or democrats, no conservatives or liberals, no Americans or Muslims. Everyone is a person, the rest is just superficial bullshit.
People are worrying today that this country and the world are falling to shit, and it is a real possibility. But we are also living during a time where there are any number of great things that can happen.
We have seen for the first time in generations, a real ragtag protest come to fruition. One that they have tried to silence but failed. We are seeing in real life and real time the true power we as a nation and as one united planet can wield together. We can really do anything, so long as we are together.
We have awakened a great force in our country where we are no longer content to just accept that things are the way they are and that there is nothing we can do about it. And the more we stay united, the more we stop them from trying to paint us in those ridiculous corners, we can revolutionize the entire world.
And baby, that is the fucking power of love!