The nostalgia laden icon, known as "the Peace symbol" is ubiquitous in Berkeley CA. The prolific bit of graphics could provide an industrious photo student with a potential theme for a project which could furnish enough raw material for a photo book.
The idea that the commercial exploitation of the Northern California city's altruistic sentiment would be an ironic example of the crass basis for all capitalistic endeavor might be perceived by cynical columnists as an example of oxymoron thinking, but the unfortunate truth is that making a profit on idealism is a more realistic effort than is the lofty goal of the people who display the graphics which may or may not express the political move for nuclear disarmament by presenting the letters "N" and "D" in semaphore signals style. Apparently they think that nuclear disarmament is the first necessary step towards achieving a perpetual world-wide Peace.
Did the hippie trend of using the two finger "V" hand signal (popularized by Winston Churchill in WWII) to express the "Peace" sentiment originate in Berkeley during the Sixties? Dunno.
Ironically, the city that is almost a synonym for anti-war sentiment is also the location for a weapons laboratory think tank.
Sadly, the events of the first half of this year may put the altruistic goal of "Peace" so far out of reach that it can realistically be considered "Mission Impossible."
The industrious family men who provide mainstream media with commentary would loose their precious paychecks for pointing this out, but a rogue (gonzo?) blogger can churn out such a column knowing that, in a culture dominated by clever conservative propaganda, his effort, even if it is a "spot-on" evaluation of a bleak truth, at best it will just provide a curious footnote for future historians scrutinizing the detritus from that year's pop culture.
What evidence is there to back the deduction that Peace is now an unattainable goal?
For one example, examine the quagmire in Afghanistan. Now that Osama bin Laden has been sent to his eternal reward (which may be an inappropriate cliche' phrase) the American military operation in Afghanistan may seem to be unnecessary. The fact that there will be no withdrawal of troops and no rational explanation for the American military's continued presence in that country will be a subtle preview of the "perpetual war" reality that American voters will slowly comprehend.
Greater analytical minds than the one that this columnist possesses will have to make an evaluation for this possibility: "Could it be that President Obama was "played" into making a rash move when he ordered the assassination of Osama bin Laden because the short term surge in his popularity ratings will later be eclipsed when the military industrial complex forbids Obama from adding to his reelection potential by evacuating the American military presence from Afghanistan?"
Obviously the gangland style treatment of Obama was a crowd pleaser, but if (for whatever reasons) the American President fails to remove troops from that theater of operations and concurrently fails to provide the voters with a rational explanation for that failure to make the logical move, then his popularity rating will suffer.
Here's a doggy treat for the conspiracy-theory-lunatic crowd: Suppose that some dastardly advisors, who are secretly committed to Ayn S. Rand style conservative goals of perpetual profits for privatized military support firms, lured President Obama into ordering the rub-out of Osama, knowing that the long-term payoff would not be beneficial to a Democratic party incumbent candidate in the 2012 Presidential Election.
Could it be that Obama is getting tainted advice from moles committed to the Republican agenda?
If al Qaeda responds to Osama's death, as they have promised, with a devastating example of terrorism in the form of a nuclear explosion and if that happens before the next Presidential election is held, that might have a negative effect on Obama's popularity ratings and vote totals. If they hold off until after the 2012 elections, then it will be a matter of either: Obama won't care because he can't have a third term, or a Republican winner would easily blame such a retaliation on the fact that it was Obama who ordered the hit on Osama. Either way they will have to respond in kind.
The US has participated in the NATO air strikes in support of the Libyan rebels. Col. Qaddafi has shown patience and perseverance in the past when he chose to send terrorists to deliver his retaliation answer to the USA. Qaddafi shows little potential for a St. Paul moment decision to adopt the "turn the other cheek" religious philosophy. Hence, it can be assumed that Qaddafi will veto any "Peace" sentiments.
What about Iraq? Since revenge is an integral part of Muslim culture, it seems that for a generation or two there will be a large contingent of Iraqi citizens who are relatives of people declared "unintended collateral damage" fatal casualties, and who will consider it their duty to remind Americans of the Biblical axiom about justice demanding "an eye for an eye." They would not feel obligated to be bound by any peace deal with America by (to use a George W. Bush phrase) a "scrap of paper."
Recent events in Egypt may remind foreign policy wonks of the old FDR assessment of a dictator. His succinct assessment could well apply to recently deposed Hasni Mubarak: "He may be an S.O.B., but he is our S.O.B."