Funny thing about how history repeats itself. The 60’s brought us a greater awareness of the need for peace with the familiar chant, ‘Make peace not war,’ an emphasis on the need for greater love for others and even a clothing style that melded the colors of the rainbow into the popular tie-dyed shirts that signaled a relaxed and confident belief in tomorrow.
Like any era the pendulum also swung in the opposite direction with characters such as George Wallace, the Deep South governor of Alabama who wrote a book entitled, “The Politics of Rage.” He went on to run for president (more than once) as he stoked the fires of hate and fear in anyone and everyone who would listen to him. He was against ‘bearded hippies, intellectuals, war protestors, people of color or cultural difference, welfare recipients, civil rights, Washington politicians, the list goes on and on…he was a divider.
For those of us who remember his demeaning comments woven into speeches filled with empty ‘plans or solutions’ to our national issues he was the master of fear, anger and deceit. His one-liners eventually served to unhinge him in the national spotlight and the nation heaved a sigh of relief. The ultimate take away for those of us who lived through that decade was ‘everything in balance’ and ‘love prevails over hate or fear.’
Fast forward to today. Around the world we see pockets of anger, fighting, and destruction as we did in the 60’s. Yet, we also see emerging the importance of greater mindfulness as we live our life. The tie-dyed shirt is once again popular as a symbol of freedom and inclusiveness. But we also hear from a few of the leading political candidates similar demeaning statements and vitriol that attempts to separate and divide us as a nation as we did from Governor Wallace. Their ‘Plans’ (I use the term loosely) proposed to fix the ills of our country by some of the ‘would be presidential’ candidates amount to one liners of simplicity at a time when the complexity of national and world concerns are nearly inconceivable.
Ahh…there’s the seed of the problem… it takes time to understand the depth of any one of the challenges we face and often we choose not to invest it. We turn to an escape movie or entertainment nightly sequel or grab our phones to send one more text to someone. I get not having the time or energy left at the end of a busy workday to invest in understanding sticky, complex issues. I understand that many of our world problems can make our brains hurt when we try to analyze them. But what I can’t accept is allowing ourselves to be swayed by a comical or puritanical snake oil salesman that dismisses any and every challenge with one liners that elementary students would recite out of pure ignorance.
History does have a way of repeating itself. Let’s hope that as Americans we will remember the lessons learned from the 60’s and once again rise to the challenge of choosing someone who can unite us as we wrestle with what the future holds. It will be a wild and bumpy ride. We need someone at the helm who is knowledgeable, calm, mature and truly interested in making our nation and the world a safer more inviting place. Someone who is brave enough to admit that there are no easy, simplistic answers to anything. A person who believes in the spirit that founded our country…hard work, caring for our fellow man and a belief that we are blessed to be in a country where each individual is valued and has demonstrated those values in their lives.
Have a great few days!