The world was changing its skin; something had to change. ~Carlos Fuentes
These words by Fuentes were penned with reflection on the revolutionary times at the tail end of the 60s with emphasis on the turbulent year, 1968. 1968 was the year the young had their innocence stolen with the murder of Bobby. It was the year an assassin tried to destroy love with hate when he laid Martin to rest with a single bullet. It was a year that saw over 200 student protests on campus, protests against the status quo, protests against Vietnam. It was the year Tommie Smith & John Carlos gave the human rights (black power) salute in an attempt to bring awareness to the plight of the black community in much the same way Black Lives Matter is trending almost 50 years later. I see both symbols as an effort to bring unity to the world where others see only division.
I was but seven years old in 1968, still the ripples from the revolutionary beliefs of that time have marked my own thinking since, helped create the man I am today, will continue to shape the man I am becoming.
It was a time the people called for freedom, the call for personal freedoms, the call to extricate ourselves from the tyranny of the Vietnam Conflict, the call to rid the populace of right wing politicians concerned more with personal power than empowering the people they were elected to serve. It was an era undergirded with a belief in love – love power, flower power, peace power. Stop the war! Love your neighbor! Love across the races! Love between the sheets! Love!
It was the ripple of love, the belief love is the ultimate answer that most colors my thinking, my actions. To this day, I do my best to love my fellow human beings, do my best to celebrate the diversity that colors our world with its many hues creating a gorgeous tapestry for those willing to look beyond selfish self-interest.
I view humanity as my race. My religion is to love all that exist, will exist. The weapon I choose to wield to drive these points home is peacefulness, peacefulness in thought, peacefulness in action. I cultivate inner peace which allows me to exude love. (Those who hate others also hate something within themselves – we treat people how we feel about ourselves. It is impossible to truly love ourselves and hate another.) I love first in attitude toward people followed by love in action for love is a verb – an action word.
The world began a transformation toward love in the turbulence of the 60s. Today, with the rise of the extreme right; Trump in the US, Duterte in the Philippines, May in the UK, Le Pen in France, Erdoğan in Turkey, Putin in Russia, and many other politicians bent toward isolationism, racism, xenophobia and the solving of problems through violence, the pendulum has swung from love, through indifference, and is hovering over hate.
Hate has become mainstream. Hate is now seen as an acceptable response to anyone that is not us, not me in ethnicity, race, creed, sexual orientation, sartorial choice, political bent, any belief that does not coincide with mine.
Revolution of thought spurred by idealistic youth was required to right the wrongs ingrained in our society prior to 1968. Today, a revolution is needed again. Revolution must return. Revolution is our only chance to progress as a society, as humanity. Revolution in thought, belief, action is needed in our world for it to be whole, healthy, dynamic, exceptional.
Revolution needs to start with our youth because, if current election results are any indicator, we children of the 60s/70s, have lost our way. The North Star of love that guided us in our youth has been replaced with a North Star of greed. We have forgotten the past that forged us. We have forgotten the era that spurred great societal leaps made when love not hate was shown to be foundational to life. We have grown fat, dumb, happy in our ignorance. We are content to fall back to isolationism, to a society divided, to us against them. We accept anything that does not affect our wallet. We accept anything that does not affect our personal comfort. We have become so lost we will even accept a society predicated on hate.
My generation has failed society, so the Millennials must reignite the revolution. It is the Millennials that have the healthy attitude toward humanity. They choose inclusion over exclusion, acceptance over rejection, creation over destruction, love over hate. It is time for them to make their beliefs manifest, move to action, to protest loud and proud, to take the reigns and vote out the evil infecting our governments. The time is ripe for another revolution!