I was a little kid in the 60s when hippies were protesting the Viet Nam war and everything else their bourgeoisie parents represented. I told my dad that I couldn’t see how he could argue against “make love not war”, but I was too young to know that making love was an actual act little kids aren’t supposed to know about, and the hippies were doing it all over the place.
I sat on the floor and played with my blocks and felt rather torn about whether the hippies were dirty and lazy or doing something really inspirational. Having no real understanding what a draft card was and never worn a bra, I didn’t see any point to burning them, and I didn’t get what was the point of burning flags either other than all this burning stuff made my dad really, really mad.
“It’s just a thing, Dad. They aren’t hurting anybody.” “It’s what it represents!” Dad shouted, but that didn’t explain anything to me either.
A young man with long hair and cutoff jeans played guitar at church one week. I was in love. He was handsome and played beautifully. Dad sputtered “How dare he come to church like that!”, and I thought the young man’s long hair was pretty and clean, unlike all those hippies on tv. “But you like guitars Dad!” After all, Dad leaned forward to watch the tube anytime Charo played blazing fast flamenco music. I hate double standards – well unless the double standard is working in my favor and lets me look at handsome young men.
I admired Charo’s musical skills. I didn’t like that she dressed like a porn star and shook her ample chest to get recognized for her abilities. I wanted the equality that I started to recognize in the barrels of burning bras.
Sometimes I wonder how much all these major events of my childhood formed me. Sometimes I wonder if the sanitized wars we’ve been having in later years robs young people of passions that make their lives more meaningful?
“Passion rebuilds the world for the youth. It makes all things alive and significant.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verse under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Oprah Winfrey
“If you don’t have a passion, you’ll give up.” Steve Jobs
First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
~ Martin Niemoller