Weeping for Youth

Last night I dreamt I was in a small town where the Beatles had a small parade. It was unexpected, sort of like when U2 played on the roof in Las Vegas. In my dream the Beatles were marching down a street, dressed like a marching band, singing Sargent Pepper. Don and I and lots of other people joined the parade. It was great.

Later in the dream I was in a home of some young people. They had used all their resources to prepare a beautiful dinner for their friends. I was so touched by their tender love for their friends that I began to weep.

I believe dreams mean something. Sometimes God speaks in dreams, but, at the very least, our subconscious is speaking to us. What was my subconscious saying?

I think maybe it was saying that the young people did not deserve what they got. So what did they get?

I have given a lot of thought to my generation, the Baby Boomers. I think somewhere here or maybe on Pearls of Liberty, I may have written about how we have dropped the ball in many respects. I’m changing my opinions regarding that, at least to some degree. We did drop the ball in some ways. But I’m calling foul on those who knocked the ball from our hands.

The generations I have personally known well have all been set up for failure to one extent or another. My parents’ generation had much to contend with. They grew up in the depression, knowing lack, suffering and poverty. When they reached or neared adulthood, the world was rocked by not only WWII, but the testing of nuclear weapons, and then the ever-present threat of them once they were perfected. My dad died at the age of fifty of a type of leukemia, probably contracted because he was exposed to strontium 90 in milk growing up in Alabama around the time nucs were being tested.

This generation paid a very great price–and willingly, because they still believed that the US was a shining beacon of freedom in a dark world. They were betrayed time and again by the country they loved. The very Nazis they gave their lives and best efforts to stop were imported to these shores, and encouraged to continue their sinister research to promote a dark agenda. They were asked to sacrifice their sons on the altar of Viet Nam and their tax dollars on the altar of the cold war.

I can write most accurately about the experiences of my generation, because I have lived them–and indeed continue to. Many factors contributed to our development. One aspect of my childhood I remember most clearly is fear. I remember almost constant fear. I remember panic attacks lying in my bed at night. This fear didn’t come to me because of any shortcomings of my parents. This fear–or at least the cause of it–was spoon-fed us in school. If you watch A Christmas Story you can learn a lot about the life of Baby Boom children (except that I was born late enough to be raised on TV programs rather than radio). We had wool coats and cloak rooms and very sweet teachers. Problem was, those sweet teachers played us lots of videos about nuclear bombs–the stuff of which nightmares were made. The black and white movies I watched from third grade on that showed rows and rows of tombstones to depict the number of people that could be killed by an atomic bomb made me feel I was going to throw up. If this is not child abuse please tell me what is.

When President Kennedy was killed our parents wept for days. When there was rioting in Watts my segregated school closed down for a few days and people talked about civil war. Fear was rampant–at least from my perspective as a child. Consciously I was glad to be out of school for a couple days, but I think subconsciously I was probably terrified.

When we got a little older we became aware that guys our age or just a little older were dying in Viet Nam, along with lots of communists (?). In those days news was more about what was really going on than about puppies in wells and car chases, so every night the news showed casualties of war. Our lives were practically defined by unrest, violence and war–though we almost never saw it personally outside of television, and television helped us forget the trauma for a half hour or so with The Beverly Hillbillies, Yogi Bear or Sheriff Taylor. Still I think the most loved and best cared for among us were raised in an atmosphere that had an undercurrent of almost constant trauma. I shudder to think what the lives of children with uncaring parents were like.

We wanted something better. We weren’t going to accept war as a way of life. We had guys like Bob Dylan to tell us things could indeed be different. We had the Beatles to introduce us to young love and enthusiasm about life.

But the children of naval intelligence who went to Laurel Canyon to be grafted into the folk music scene and then to co-opt it along with the peace movement–coloring both with the same drug and sex obsessed brush and melding them into the hippie movement–the introduction of the Rolling Stones as the satanic / sex verion of the Beatles, and the replacement of Paul McCartney with Faul who was more willing to promote a psychadelic / drug youth culture than the real Paul, subverted and sidetracked the idealism and hope of my generation. Maybe it was inevitable. How could a generation who saw the assassination of the last true people’s President of the US as children hope to bring about any sort of positive change?

Then it was time for us to graduate college, find jobs and have children. Cocaine was substituted for LSD as the drug of choice to keep us from focusing on real problems. We were offered fast cars, big houses and lots of great toys for both us and our children. We sold out. We accepted the perks and became yuppies who made lots of money and paid lots of taxes. We were unknowingly fortifying the empire that had sent so many of our peers to die in a distant land.

That is probably not true. Surely we must have known, at leas on some level. But we were young parents. We had to manicure our lawns, we had to shop for the latest and greatest cooking utensils. We were too busy buying stuff and having fun to remember our youthful ideals. We were bought off.

We’ll still be alive for a little while longer, but will we be able to summon the will and courage to do anything significant (and by significant I don’t mean invent a smaller and more talented cell phone or DV recorder)?

This brings us to the younger generations, the generation who are now young parents. The children whose mothers were duped into believing that in order to be truly free they needed not only their husbands to tell them what to do, but also another man called a “boss”. I am a great advocate of creativity and freedom to live and work to one’s potential, but someone please show me the logic of doing two jobs–mother and worker–giving one more freedom.

This campaign to convince women to leave the home was yet one more push by the State to become MOMMY. The State makes a crappy mommy, demanding complete allegiance and compliance, fostering lifelong dependence, and effectively destroying private or personal initiative.

Not only must this generation cope with living the latchkey life, they have also been confronted with 911 and the belief that safety and security can only be won through the surrender of personal freedom and constant overseas wars.

God help us all.

I do have hope for the future and I wish I could end with something positive. But these thoughts are why I wept for the tender innocent young people in my dream.