Booming One More Time

Fall                                 Waning Back to School Moon

Metro Lounge                  Union Station

This is the first class lounge, folks who’ve bought rooms.  My next trip to Lafayette had no rooms, but I convinced the lady here to let me in since I had rooms on the Empire builder both ways.

Old folks pass by, some in the early years of aging, like me, others in the thin, papery skin and tottering walk phase.  How many of them in the former, I wonder, marched in Washington, fought for student rights, worked hard to end the Vietnam war, protested to achieve civil rights for African-Americans?  Age and accommodation hide the former marks of my kind, the long hair, the frayed jeans, the combat boots, the green book bags, the peace symbol pins,the flower print dresses and plaited hair.

We walk past each other, joined by other links, the cane, the gray hair, balding pates, bum knees, expanded middles.  Makes me think of another addition to symbolic logic:  the law of the expanded middle.

One of our own, Tom Brokaw, wrote a book, the Greatest Generation, talking up the folks of the WWII era as saviors of our culture.  Maybe they were, I don’t know, history is difficult to judge; but, the next spate of articles and books focused on how the Baby Boomers are not the Greatest Generation.  Somehow we have failed to live up to pundits self-made expectations of us.  Balderdash.

An article this month in the Atlantic offers a guide as to how we can retrieve our lost promise by solving the economic crisis at home.  C’mon.  A minimum sized group of greedy bastards almost sunk the American economy, a breed that, like the poor, has always been with us.  It is the chattering class that needs to fix the economy and they’ve worked at it in fits and starts.  The economy never was our forte.

No,we fought our battles for change at the level of the personal,the local, the national foreign policy level, not in the canyons of wall street or the board rooms of the Forbes 500.  We challenged US military policy so successfully that a generation of military leaders has vowed never again to make the same mistakes as Vietnam.  We supported the African-American community among us and Lyndon Johnson in a push for civil rights.  Women and men of our generation took the gender controversy into our private lives, struggling for a just place for women one bag of garbage, one diaper and one sink full of dishes at a time.

We have had our share, more than our share, of brilliant scientists and innovative artists.

Where we still have a big opportunity is not in the stock market or its ancillary phenomenon like the Department of Treasury.  No, our opportunity lies in the self same area we did early work in during the 60’s when we took the advice of such gurus as Scott and Helen Nearing and tried to go “back to the land.”

Climate change, local food, energy independence, forest and water health, these are the areas where our generation can still act and act forcefully, this time for the future of the unborn generations who will suffer from the profligacy of our time.  We know how to use the levers of popular power.  We know how important it is to speak truth to power and to use our personal lives as leverage in the pursuit of deep social change.

I hope we take the challenge and begin to acknowledge each other in the metro lounges and streets and lobbies and town halls and legislatures of our country.

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