I do not purport to be an expert
in anything . . . especially not in recounting history. However,
I do claim to have lived through
a period of time which, in
retrospect, seems connected somehow and very important to the current time I am living in
and, therefore, my observations might prove interesting to some – unimportant to many – and,
maybe, insulting to others.
Just my opinions from my limited,
just my opinions . . .
1960 to 2017
OVER Fifty years ago . . . in 1963, I was a junior in high school in High Point, North Carolina, sitting in class when the announcement came over the loudspeaker that the President of the United States had been shot and his condition was not known. An unbelievable shocked silence came over the people in that classroom that I can still remember today—it was like we couldn’t breathe because if we did, it would mean it was true and we knew it could not be true— . . this was Camelot!
The first thing that seems important to me was the overwhelming feeling of HOPE . . . in 1960, oh, nobody thought things were perfect and yet, that was one of the reasons we were hopeful . . . because we recognized so many things we could improve. Call it the optimism of youth, but most of us were focused on believing we could make this world a better place for everybody— that each of us really could make a difference AND we had just elected a man who wanted to lead us on that journey! Granted this man wa not perfect either, but he inspired us to believe in ourselves, to believe in our dreams . . . to believe in Camelot!
In 1960, most of us were not blind to the flaws of our world at that time, but we were willing to step forward to work together to build a better world and to help each other live the “American dream”—NOT the materialistic one our parents had created, but the one in which money was NOT more important than time spent with family, one in which possessions were NOT more important than those intangibles like love and sharing and living life instead of accumulating things, one in which ALL people were treated as living, loving individuals NOT as things to be used or tossed aside or judged because they were different! Our vision was of a world where everyone had what they needed and everyone was respected for who they were beause we knew LOVE would do all it could to build bridges and to . . . bring everybody into Camelot!
were we unrealistic In 1960? a little, maybe . . . but I think we might have made it, IF . . . a government agency had not introduced LSD to some of our young people so they could experiment with it as a “truth” drug. Of course, the experiment failed and it was shown to be a dangerous drug, but the introduction of this hallucinogenic drug took with it the focus of those it enslaved and diverted the focus from our mission of building a world together to the self-centered pursuit of “pleasure” – which is always the lure of drugs that pulls people deeper and deeper into its dark world and makes them “comfortable” with lethargy resulting in a lack of motivation and . . . stops their journey to Camelot!
Of course, the “story” was always that the hippies and the counter-culture movements failed . . . which they did in that they failed to resist the lure of free drugs touted as a doorway to wonderful experiences, a way to explore “space” inside and outside your self, expand your consciousness. It was not proof that the non-materialistic philosophies based in unconditional love and acceptance would not work, it was proof that the subtlely of distractions is more effective at diverting and bringing defeat than any other method—it is insidious: “operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect”—and, it is obviously being used to great effect in our current time . . . Only uniting and working together to overcome our struggles can offer any hope for us all and draw us back to a world where all can live and work together . . . . . . to build a real Camelot!
1961—January: the inauguration of the second youngest President in history of our country . . . (Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest) and the vim and vigor of JFK inspired the youth of this land to want to come together to make the entire world a better place! It was like believing there were current day “knights in white-shining armor” who would step in to rescue anyone in distress, even if they were flawed individuals . . . that caring about others required action and was always the right way to be . . . that sharing whatever we had would mean we would all have what we needed . . . that love was always the answer and anything we did should be motivated by love and that would make the world a better place for everyone . . . not a perfect place, but a better place and one in constant progress toward a better world, each day bringing us . . . a step closer to Camelot!
And then the story continued . . . more thoughts to come of deeper, darker times . . .