The Hippies Were Right: Be Kind to One Another

I have taken to not writing much on the weekends. Typically, I use the two days I get off from work as ways to try and replenish who I am. Walks. Spending time at my circle in the backyard. Reading. Listening to lectures and music. You know, just generally avoiding the television and the insane twenty-four-hours news cycle that seems to permeate everything.

This morning – a Sunday – finds me sitting here at the keyboard of my Mac, drinking coffee, scratching the ears of the youngest cat (Kaylee) and listening to a concert from September 2015 by Phil Lesh, the former bassist of the Grateful Dead. Yeah, I have more Grateful Dead, and Grateful Dead related music material than anything else. I definitely am an individual born into the wrong generation.

I kid people at work, and tell them constantly that they don’t want my input on projects. I would only infect it with my hippie perspective. Except that I am not kidding about that. I bring a hippie perspective to nearly everything I do. Yes, I was born to the wrong generation, I firmly believe that.

img_9678Now, when my coworkers hear that I am a hippie, smoking weed immediately comes to their minds. Or doing some form of consciousness-altering drugs. Nothing could really be further from the truth. I smoked weed once in my life, in the parking lot of Hamel’s Amusement Park in Shreveport. After one pull, I promptly barfed my toenails up. And harder drugs just never appealed to me to even try. I had friends that got hooked on cocaine. The aftermath of what it did to them was warning enough to me. But I do enjoy whiskey…just a little too much. I’m a mean drunk, so I watch my alcohol intake very closely. And I know how I am around whiskey, so I don’t venture too far from a couple of IPA beers for the night – provided I am not driving. But the mythology of hippie culture being nothing more than drug-soaked indulgence…total nonsense, at least from my perspective.

But. The hippie culture was about loving one another. And not just in a sexual way. Mickey Hart made the proclamation of “Be kind to one another” at the end of the 50th anniversary concerts in Chicago last year. I have quoted that many, many times here in the blog. And for me, that is the one driving mantra of the hippie culture – to be kind to one another. You saw that in the Burning Man festivals from a few years ago. People who needed something to eat were provided that from nearly anywhere. Sadly, Burning Man became something that was “hip” – and the folks that have come to this event now bring their own security, and keep out people that they consider to be “undesirable” from their camps.

For me, the hippie mentality is one of inclusion. After all, we are all part of the same human race. Skin color means nothing. Height, weight, hair color, eye color, personal musical preferences, sexual orientation, gender identity, even political affiliation – none of that excludes you from the being a human being. And somehow, we manage to forget this every four years – particularly here in America.

Its called the Presidential election cycle. And every four years, we divide ourselves into smaller factions and make proclamations about how bad the other side is. We resort to insults. Yes, even I have done this in this political season. I am not fond of what the Republican nominee stands for. Not so long ago, I posted a picture on Facebook of the zombies from the TV series “The Walking Dead” wearing the “Make America Great” hats and carrying some of the yard signs for the Trump campaign. Shame on me for doing that. In essence, I got caught up in the “Us v. Them” breakdown that happens in every Presidential election cycle.

Ok. Take a moment, and close your mouth. Don’t be in too much disbelief over what I just said. And here’s why. On November 9th, what are we – as a collective nation going to do? ┬áThink about it. There’s a fair chance that Donald Trump could be the President of the United States. There’s an equal chance that Hillary Clinton could be President of the United States. What are you going to do when the candidate that is not your choice, wins? Riot in the streets? Grab your gun and shoot every supporter of that candidate until you feel satisfied with thinning out the gene pool? Board up all the windows in your home, and wait for an inevitable nuclear strike? What are you going to do if YOUR candidate DOES win? Are you going to gloat over how your candidate was really the ONLY choice that Americans could make? Or maybe, you might consider a different tactic…

What about going on with your life as you did on November 7th, just before the election? What about extending a hand to your neighbor who voted for the OTHER candidate? Are we going to start checking voter affiliation and asking who people voted for President before we provide assistance to them in their time of need? Maybe, we do go that route of pure political division. But I have faith in human beings.

I do believe we can put aside our political differences. We can stop regarding one another by the color of our skin, or how much money we make doing our mundane jobs. I have faith that we will eventually figure out that we are all part of the human race. That all the other divisions that come about from birth or from personal choices and preferences, won’t be seen as factors that keep us from working together. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. And by the Gods, I share in that dream. But to get there…as I regard our current election….we have a long way to go.

I want to thank Nadia for planting this into the foreground of my thoughts. Sometimes, it is the most controversial topics that can bring about some of the most inspired thinking. Thank you for planting that seed of thought….

 

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