We all wanted to be rebels with cause and not go the way of our parents who fought in wars such as World War Two and in some cases the Korean War. We witnessed the horrors of the Viet Nam War and as those soldiers went off to their untimely deaths, we swore to ourselves that never again would we allow our government to lie to us. Oh, but they did.
Many of our law makers who voted for the Iraq War are part of our generation and it begs the question; just how did they forget the lessons of Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and such musical prophets like John Lennon and George Harrison. Were they not paying attention to the speeches and songs of this brave new world?
As boomers, we had a healthy distrust of our government. In speaking out against this war time and time again, we are truly rebels with a cause and we wonder how can our brethren who voted for this war could do so. Were they not paying attention to that golden time of opportunity when we had within our grasp to really change a war ravaged world.
In Alfred A. Hambidge, Jr.s, piece 'The Wall', he writes as our elected leaders are set to vote for the Iraq War, "Goddamn bastards are doing it again." He then goes onto say, "We never learn, do we?" In this piece these are the angry words coming from a Viet Nam veteran. In that war of lies as Mr. Hambidge writes we lost, "Fifty Eight Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty Nine." He reminds all of us that "Every one of them" was "a son; a brother, or a father, a husband, a cousin, a lover, a neighbor, a friend." He cites again to the man he is speaking with that "Fifty Eight Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty Nine boys brought home in boxes." Like so many today are asking, he says, "For what? For fuckin' nothing. And now the bastards are gonna do it again." Normally, I would not use objectionable language within any piece I write, but felt the need to correctly quote his piece, because it shows his strident anger. I do believe some of us have used this same strident language as we rage against this Iraq War. I know that I have.
As our congress debates this war, which is now our Viet Nam War, we have lost over 3,100 of our men and women in the armed services and do we have to lose as many as we did in the Viet Nam War before they finally get it? Senator John F. Kerry once said of the Viet Nam War which equally applies to this one, "Who will be the last man to die for a mistake?" Yes, this war just like the Viet Nam war was and still is a mistake, but our soldiers who were sent over to this war are not the ones making the mistake but our government once again. To those in Washington, D.C., all I have to say should you fail to bring our troops home what idiots you are.
While we all were paying attention to the musical prophets like John Lennon who sang "Give peace a chance", there were some boomers who were not on the same page as many of us were. They were the Bill Kristols' whose prophet was Leo Strauss the father of the Neo-conservative movement. None of us foresaw men like this someday controlling our government and they did so to our very detriment. One has to wonder if our musical prophets and political prophets even reach their darkened souls. Well, Mr. Kristol?
Our hope for the future was best expressed in the song "Imagine" when John Lennon sang, "Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger a brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people sharing all the world." Instead those that did follow Leo Strauss became successful in their mission which was the complete opposite of ours. Sadly some who were more aligned with our way of peaceful and rebellious thinking have sided with the Neo-cons. They helped create a world which they wanted no part of in their formidable years. Those of us who are boomers said when it came to our parent's wars, we did not want to be like them when it came to war-fare, yet here we are. I ask them, did you forget the rebel inside of you who had a cause?
To the rebels with a cause, those who did follow the musical prophets of Lennon and Harrison, George Harrison brought forth a powerful song called, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and within it he sang from the heart, "I don't know why nobody told you, how to unfold your love. I don't know how someone controlled you. They bought and sold you." To my fellow rebels with a cause, are you controlled and did a group of people buy and sell you? Yes, they did and they are the defense contractors, the lobbyists and other special interest groups. Is this the world you at one point envisioned for us all? If so, then please look in the mirror and see the soul you sold out to the highest bidder.
George Harrison asks within this song, "With every mistake we must surely be learning" Well have we? Have we learned from the mistakes of the Viet Nam war? It is obvious that my boomer brethren did not if they voted for the Iraq War.
Go within your conscience and please pay attention to these words, "I don't know how you were diverted. You were perverted too. I don't know how you were inverted." But, the latter line from this stanza is the most important one, which states, "No one alerted you." We who have opposed this war and many of us who remembered Viet Nam were the very ones that did alert you. You just did not listen to us, but allowed a liar in President George W. Bush to control you.
In this past piece in which I endorsed Howard Dean in his presidential bid titled, "MacElveen endorses Howard Dean" for the MikeHersh.com web site, I wanted to feel a sense of hope that brighter days were on their way. I wanted to feel a sense of hope and try to reach out to my boomer brethren when I wrote, "Little darlin' it's been a long cold lonely winter. Little darlin' it feels like years since it's been here. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun." That same sentiment is what many crave for in the 2008 presidential elections. We want a chance to breathe, a chance for peace and to set aside these war-hawkish ways. We want to engage with other countries instead of the same old tactic that have not worked. We have become far too isolated.
In closing and as we go forward, I feel all of us who are boomers who thought of ourselves as rebels with a cause, we must reach down deep inside to fulfill our vision for this world. We must somehow prove to those who followed Leo Strauss such as Bill Kristol and the rest of the PNAC boys, we shall prevail. We must state clearly that our musical prophets in Lennon and Harrison had the clear and moral vision for this world. We can become our own greatest generation if we dare to imagine.
Author's note: Please feel free to read my other articles on my blog and to email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org