I’ve been around a few years now and seen and done some things. Today many young people think grass roots activism is something new to their generation. Thinking about this, at least in my generation, Social Activism has been around for a long time, spanning many, many generations. You can’t know what you don’t know.
I remember birth control or, “The Pill”. No one considered out of the gate that for the first time in history, Women will have control over their reproductive system. What the adults around me thought, and perhaps some still do, is only, “Dirty Women”, want the pill. Dirty in this perspective was not referring to the lack of hygiene.
DDT, the pesticide was sweeping its way around the world, touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Initially a few groups of people saw it for what it was, the greatest poison ever unleashed. It wasn’t until California Condors were almost extinct, that the rest of the country got on board. It was looking grim for several years, and some species still have not recovered from DDT.
Women’s Liberation! Following in the footsteps of, “The Pill”, Women’s Liberation swept the country. From control over their bodies, Women wanted control of their destiny. Women were once again demanding their right to equality. This time very loudly. The most common symbol of the time were ‘bras’ going up in literal flames in public happenings; meeker women showed their support by leaving their bras at home. What scandal that was!
Equal Rights. Who did those people think they were? Don’t they know their place? This was an all too common sentiment around the country. Thankfully the Hippies and those of this generation changed opinion, and changed the country a little, the fight unfortunately still continues for Racial Equality.
Three Huggers. People who saw the value in ancient and modern forests, and wanted to put an end too deforestation and destroyed habitat. They were out there in front of the Logging Companies, ringing trees with their bodies, and driving spikes into trees to destroy chain and other saws, should an attempt be made to harvest them.
Viet Nam War and Government Disobedience. Up until this period, too many people ignorantly put their trust in Government, like so many people do today. They relinquished their civil liberties because they foolishly thought the Government knew best, and would protect them and keep them safe.
It took a horrible war in a far off land to wake people and open their eyes. Mostly Sons who were slated for the draft and their Mothers. Followed shortly by returning War Veterans who saw the senselessness of what was being done first hand.
These activists and protestors changed how we felt about war and the killing of our finest young men in war. It was all too easy before for old men to send young men off to be killed and maimed in war. At least we stopped the draft.
Then I became married and the world moved on around me. Movements came and movements went. Protests and protestors were viewed under different light depending on the year. Being a Father and Husband, I had to focus on family, and let the world take care of itself. I made a mistake.
The ozone layer problem came and went, as I did my small part, while others gave it the fight it deserved. In less than a year, most of the world understood the problem, and came up with a fix. End of the world diverted for real this time.
Now we have a Global Warming, and are slowly becoming aware of what we have done and are doing to our planet. Once again, old men are only interested in money, and care little about the lives of their Grandchildren, as if having money makes destroying the world all right.
My point to all this, is this. Many of the issues and problems of today, I thought were resolved in turn as I grew up. The problem is old habits and old thinking diminish slower than we grow up and grow old. Scared selfish people will never go away, and they will revert every good we do if not prevented from doing so.
Keep fighting, but don’t fight wearing rose colored glasses. What seems like winning the war of a very important cause today, will prove to be a minor skirmish in and ongoing campaign, as the years roll by you. You can’t slow down and rest on your achievements. Your victories will be challenged all through your life and you will find, you’re never done.