A movement starts with an individual.
I don’t know when our nation moved to groupthink. But maybe it was the anti-disco fervor of the late seventies that was its first visible exponent. When white males got together at Comiskey Park and blew up disco records, they thought they’d won, but beat-driven music survives, more powerful than ever, disco does not suck, it’s the foundation of our nation.
And then came the anti-Iran sentiment of the same era. Our entire nation riled up against a Mideast state, nationalism was evident in a way it was not in the…
I lived through them. Hell, when I was alive they had this program “You Asked For It” and I remember a feature on the oldest living Civil War veteran. Now Holocaust survivors are fading away and it won’t be long before all those who lived through America’s most tumultuous decade of the twentieth century are gone too.
So we woke up one day and we all had crew cuts and our mothers worked in the home and everybody was happy.
And not too long thereafter guys sported long hair, families were torn apart and you went from thinking America was invincible to wanting a war halfway around the world in a nation you’d never heard of stopped. How did this happen?
Through the power of individuals.
People forgotten now. Some remembered, like Martin Luther King. Musicians came last. But everybody who stood up eventually caused more to stand up and suddenly there was a generation gap that could not be breached. This schism led to not only the stopping of the war, but changes in music, style, lifestyle…you see life used to be about questioning precepts.
It’s not anymore.
Except by the techies. Some want to change the world. Most are just in it for the money.
In the former camp we have Elon Musk. GM killed the electric car, they even made a movie about it, and then one guy brought it back. First wealthy experimenters purchased Tesla’s roadster, and then when the Model S was introduced, broad swaths of people bit the bullet.
While the establishment did not stop bitching. You cannot open the “Wall Street Journal” without seeing complaints about government subsidies. But the government pays oil companies and farmers and there’s a long history of inducements to further societal good.
And most people do not understand that electric cars are much more efficient, therefore needing less energy. The same way people keep e-mailing me they buy instead of stream because they’re worried about being out of cell range, about data costs. These doofuses don’t know you can synch thousands of tracks to your handset, as long as it has juice, you’ve got tunes.
And you can credit Daniel Ek. The oldsters keep bitching he’s a billionaire. But he didn’t used to be, he was a guy flying across the ocean in the back of the plane to bring his vision to life. And if you don’t think this vision is beneficial you didn’t read the recent Goldman Sachs report about the skyrocketing recorded music revenues. Spotify didn’t kill music, it saved it!
You’ll realize this.
So, we need leaders, those who will fight the mainstream only because it’s right.
But groupthink pervades. Especially amongst millennials, where fitting in is a way of life. In the sixties you let your freak flag fly, today you wanna be just like everybody else.
So what does it take to go down the other path, to make a stand?
First and foremost a willingness to evaluate issues and make your own educated decision. A skill that’s been lost as America teaches to the test. No, what people need are analytical powers. Unfortunately, these are possessed by the ruling class, learned at institutions only they can attend, and they like the status quo just the way it is.
Second, it’s a decision to do what’s right, damn the consequences. To worry about your heart more than your pocketbook.
Third, a willingness to endure the hate, the blowback. To sacrifice yourself for the greater good.
So Colin Kaepernick kneels for the national anthem and becomes a pariah. It’s only a song! And sitting during the anthem was de rigueur in the sixties. But really Kaepernick was standing up against the cartel. Called the NFL. Old white men who treat their players like slaves. Oh, don’t tell me about their salaries, most are not guaranteed. You get injured and they throw you on the scrapheap.
There’s so much wrong in our country it’s overwhelming.
Oh, don’t load me up with that nationalistic fervor telling me how great the U.S.A. is and if I don’t like it to leave it, I’ve already heard it, from the yahoos saying we had to fight communism in Vietnam. Sure, the U.S.A. is great, but our ethos used to be to make it BETTER! To reduce income inequality, to raise the poor up, but now the best and the brightest want to just leave these people behind. The left is a cadre of overeducated folks who think they know everything when they know so little and the right is all about selling freedom while you lose everything and rich corporations triumph. There’s no one to believe in. Which is how a charlatan like Trump gained power.
But just you wait. Just like Ed Cunningham walked away from six figures a year, did what was right as opposed to expedient, more people will stand up. Just ones and twos, but then many more.
We’ll all be driving electric cars.
We’ll all be streaming.
And if you do your part there will be a roof over everybody’s head and food on the table and peace in the valley.
We just need individuals to take us there.