Tag Archives: future

Slacker gone hopeful

It really feels odd.  I’m not one to drone endlessly on the same topic, but as the days go by I can’t help but continue to meditate and marvel on the transformation… and figure out how to keep it going.

Growing up I was told I was part of the slacker generation.  We didn’t care about anything.  Apathetic little brats.  At the time I knew that this was a load of crap, but didn’t have the perspective to pinpoint exactly why.

Over the years I have been able to see how it was trained into us: living with the constant fear of nuclear war.  Learning about politics in the wake of Nixon’s criminal activity.  Learning about world affairs so soon after the raw-wound fiasco of Vietnam.  Growing socially aware in the self-absorbed 70’s and materialistic 80’s.  Traditional gender roles being overcome by brave men and women but with nothing healthy put in their place, our only choice to be “supermom-careerwoman-totally independent- I’ll do it all myself-sexy but it shouldn’t matter if I am or not” for the girls and “Fine I’ll let you do it all yourself-see I’m not controlling you but neither am I helping- this is awesome that you have to bring home the bacon AND serve it to me” for the guys.  Hearing about how the earth is being polluted, over-populated, raped and pillaged while everyone just continues about their business refusing to alter their ways to remedy it.  And finally, not because this is all there is but because I can’t think of the rest of it right now, film and literature evolving beyond postmodern nihilistic existentialism, which had already taken “What the hell is the point?” to the most extreme.

But my generation isn’t motivated.  We’re a bunch of lay-abouts.

And which part of this ridiculous mess were we supposed to be inspired to participate in, exactly?

I felt my first wave of political hope when Clinton was voted in, but that faded quickly as he came up against multiple forces that held his administration back from what they had intended to achieve.  Instead of resounding affirmation of gay rights the country got the military policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”  Etc.

Then eight years of W.  I have never felt like such a slacker as I did in 2004 when he was re-elected.  Honestly, why am I going to get out of bed?  Having kids made it easier to remember why I wanted to live, but also made it more depressing to realize that we were going to have the awful leadership continue and cause more damage to our nation and our nation’s reputation.

I was steeling myself for a McCain win.  To me this would confirm what I’d known all along: the fat cats control everything.  The corporations own not only almost all of the capital, they own our government, they own us.  And worst of all, that people didn’t care a whit about informing themselves and refused to reprimand ignorance.  If regular people had bought the whole “Obama is going to make us SHARE!!!” whining, thus falsely identifying themselves with the super-rich and reaffirming the trickle down theory rubbish that we are content to live off the scraps of the well-off, then I would have figured that all was lost.  I think my cynicism would have reached new depths, and I don’t know how I would have dealt with it.

I wish there were a way to share this feeling with those who are apparently as devastated by this election as I was in 2000 and 2004.  Does it make them feel any better to know that they had their two turns in a row, and, just like on the playground, it’s nice to give someone else a chance on the swing, especially when the last swinger was throwing rocks and creating general chaos?  Doesn’t it make them feel better to see so much of the American population so happy and hopeful, not because we are scared and want to hide behind our leader who will shake a stick at the big scary things in the world, but because we feel inspired to roll up our sleeves and finally get to work under the leadership of someone who isn’t going to be conspiring against our best interests behind our backs with his pals in big oil, Haliburton, etc.?  Does it make them feel any better to realize that this president was actually elected not only by the electoral college but also by a majority of Americans of all flavors who turned out in huge numbers, and this president-elect didn’t even need his governor-brother to help him win a key state?

I keep coming back to Obama’s slogan, “Yes, we can.”  The “we” includes everyone, I believe, no matter who or of what opinion.  It is open-ended.  It doesn’t prescribe a goal or an outcome, or even the method to achieve it, it simply speaks to the needs and desires that we all have, affirming them and encouraging individuals to come together and embark on whatever projects call to their hearts.

Can’t everyone see how long we, as a nation, have had to live without this positive spirit?  Since before I was born, as far as I can tell.  Doesn’t everyone wonder how far we can take it, how many wrongs we might right, how many dreams we might fulfill, how many new ideas we might produce?

The slackers. along with the rest of the population, might emerge from our depressed lethargy and embrace our lives in this world as never before.  

I’m ready.  Let’s do it.  What have we got to lose?

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Filed under Politics

Welcome…

To the first day of the rest of our lives.

I want so badly to believe in President-elect Obama that it is a bit frightening.  My M.O. is to be cooly cynical, looking always for ulterior motive and reading greed and self-interest into everything that just about everyone says.

But try as I might, I could hear nothing but sincerity and hope in his acceptance speech last night.  I felt like a naive little schoolgirl, enamored by the handsome young principal promising a new school year filled with exciting projects, new library books and better cafeteria food.

It brought me back to my naive excitement the night Bill Clinton was first elected.  I had such high expectations for what he would be able to accomplish.  This time my enthusiasm is definitely tempered by experience, by my instinctual tendency to guard a heart broken too many times.

But I want so badly to believe.  The way he embraced not only his fans, but those who hadn’t voted for him, foreign dignitaries in their palaces and third-world viewers crowded around the tv.  He stood up and spoke for unity in the most powerful way I’ve ever seen.  I may have heard more poetic and profound words spoken by others in the past, but never such amazing words spoken to a global audience, never words addressed to each and every individual in that audience.

I have to say I gained an enormous amount of respect for McCain last night as well.  His speech was truly impressive for the way he too called for us all to come together and support Obama and each other as we move into this new phase of history.

Perhaps soon all my hopes and excitement will be crushed, maybe Obama will end up a conniving, lying politician like all the others, maybe my disillusionment hovers around the next corner, waiting in ambush to reopen old wounds.  But for today, and hopefully for a while to come, and maybe for the next four years, I can feel the amazing energy of this new direction and I want to continue to be inspired to participate in the vital work of reconstructing a society that has strayed so far from justice, stability and the security of a healthy interdependent community.

“Yes, we can!”

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No future for nostalgia?

A couple of years ago I wasn’t in touch with anyone from my past.  Not because I’d burned any bridges, not because there wasn’t anyone dear.  Just lost touch, moved away, got lazy, whatever.

Then when we left Oregon for North Carolina I got on Facebook and found a few people from the recent past.  But in the last few months, and most especially in the last few days, I have found a whole lot of friends and family that I haven’t spoken to in, well, not to make myself sound old, but… decades.

It is blowing my little mind.

Pretty soon everyone will have at their fingertips access to everyone they’ve ever known.  We are all starting to make our way onto the Net, that vast container that begins to encompass all of humanity, and we will be able to see how old or beautiful or successful or pitiful or broken we have all gotten.

And then what is to become of nostalgia?  When it all comes out of the past, all the old photos posted onto profiles, all the stories relived, what will become of memory?  Our entire past and present will exist on pages networked throughout cyberspace.  Instead of making up a perfect image of the good old days, I will simply enter a search and retrieve it from a database.  Instead of telling an embellished story of adventure, carefully amended for the whims of the audience I wish to entertain, the tale will be told on a blog with everyone adding comments.

I’m not complaining!  It is all new and exciting.  I am not afraid because I get to make it up as we go along, same as the next guy.  None of it has ever been done before.  No one has ever lived like this, on such a scale, inside such a network.

Does it blow your mind too?

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Filed under internet