Thursday, September 8, 2011

The end of the age ...

It was the dawning of the age of Aquarius, as I remember.  

Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding, no more falsehoods or delusions, living crystal revelations, and the mind's true liberation! 

So many of us hoped for all those things, hoped to live them out.  It was a philosophical upheaval in a generation's thinking, but all a dream and without the power to effect the change it prophesied.  

Anything left of the dream?

It was 1967, and with the draft board breathing down my neck, I voluntarily joined the Navy to avoid being drafted into something about which I had so many unanswered questions.  It was a high-tension, high-conflict choice; I was a liberal-conservative, a republican hippie, a mainstream fringe walker, a Christian radical.  I took an oath to obey the leadership I questioned.  Both the draft and the war were a national shame.  It's taken decades to unravel the personal issues.  
It doesn't help to know that the nation began to split about that time, becoming dysfunctionally partisan by the turn of the century.  It doesn't help to know that the war in Vietnam was perpetuated by knowing misrepresentation, big business agendas, and personal power plays, or that the innocents died by the hundreds of thousands. And Kent State.  And fifty thousand good men of my generation gave their lives there, hoping at least to serve well.  I served too, and the Berlin Wall was my focus, but the cost for me was small.  Moving on then, ...
"[If the ideals of the Sixties had prevailed], it would be a world where people lived gently on the planet without the sense that they have to exploit nature or make war upon nature in order to find basic security.  It would be a simpler way of life, less urban, less consumption-oriented, and much more concerned about spiritual values, about companionship, friendship, community. Community was one of the great words of this period, getting together with other people, solving problems, enjoying one another's company, sharing ideas, values, insights.
And if that's not what life is all about, if that's not what the wealth is for, then we are definitely on the wrong path."  ~Theodore Roszak writer, social critic.  He died just this last July. 
“We should remember 1967 not as the time the nation turned on and tuned in but as the moment the United States began hurtling toward a nervous breakdown, riven by conflict that would change the country and the world forever.  It was the beginning of an era of intense polarization – one in which, arguably, we are still living.  More than a momentous year, 1967 was a seedbed for our own times.”  ~ Wilentz
We remember the dream, even while our civilian leadership misses the mark year after year.  We have new reasons to distrust elected officials with each passing session of Congress.  Our marketplace pursues every path of greed, affecting the livelihood of hundreds of millions.  Our consumerism threatens the world's economy. Even though our national foundations of integrity and truth, justice and fair business have all been shaken and in many ways reshaped by the influence wielders in government and business, the dream is still real and compelling.

And all anyone of good conscience wants is a fair chance to do well, to raise a family in a good place, and to leave a legacy of having done well by others.

The American Dream:
  ... in which freedom includes the possibility of success
   ... the opportunity for one's children to grow up healthy and equipped  
    ... in which all are created equal and each has inalienable rights
      ... life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
So what of the Dream?  Is there a place of harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust, crystal clear revelation, and real freedom?
Where does it lead; where does the dream come true?  

... and of the increase of His government, there shall be no end.
  Righteousness, peace, and joy; His kingdom!
Lord, we pray that your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth.  Soon.