Issue date: 10/3/08
We need a hero or at least somebody who'll act like one. Our economy
is sucking, civil liberties are being taken away, we are at war in
two countries, our government is finding more and more ways to
regulate and involve itself in our lives and as long as "Grey's"
comes on, it's all good to us. College campuses have become bastions
of our materialistic culture as opposed to the places that spurred
discussion and tried new things, which they seemed they used to be. I
thought college was where you "found" yourself. Now it's just beer
pong and mediocrity, although I'm a fair beer pong-er myself.
Where's the outrage? Our parents' generation helped bring about
massive social change all because they got sick of the status quo.
Then they moved to the suburbs, bought a waterbed and an SUV and had
kids named Tucker and Mary-Whatever to paraphrase Steve Earle a
little bit. Now we just want our Kavu, iPods and BMW from Daddy.
We're a generation of Neros, fiddling while the world burns around
us. It's cool, though, as long as nobody messes with "House."
Then there's Barack Obama and the change, change and more change he
promises. What the hell? Why does anyone not try to initiate change
on their own anymore? I guess we're so used to buying everything
pre-packaged and sitting on a shelf that the first guy who comes
along to capitalize on that is hailed as a savior. Apparently, the
people who screamed change and tried to deliver their message of
change emphatically have all been forgotten. If you woke up from a
daze and turned on the TV today, you would think Obama was the first
guy ever to say the word change.
Whatever happened to the Woodie Guthries and Abbie Hoffmans who not
only suggested change, but demanded it. You think it's cool to learn
how to rip off a Coke machine on YouTube and stick it to the "man?"
Abbie Hoffman wrote a whole book on how to get free stuff and subvert
the establishment. It was called "Steal This Book," and a bunch of
publishing companies refused to publish it because it was not only
inflammatory but suggested thievery of said book. Woodie Guthrie
stood toe-to-toe with the Dust Bowl migrants in California, while
people were being killed and families were starving so rich fruit
farmers could fatten their bottom line.
What about Muhammad Ali? I'm not a huge fan of the guy, but when he
said he wasn't going to Vietnam, he meant it. He didn't run and hide
in Canada. He owned up and faced the music. I admire him for that. My
paw-paw would call that practicing what you preach.
We're a generation without a backbone and so self-centered that as
long as our little microcosm stays intact it's cool. Let that balance
be upset, and you get people getting shot over a bag of ice as in the
wake of Katrina.
I'm not trying to be preachy. I've got an iPod and a new car, and I
like them both. But my possessions don't define who I am. I view my
car as what it is - transportation. I think my acoustic guitar is
more closely associated with my psyche than a hunk of aluminum on
four rubber tires. My cell phone sucks, but I don't feel like less of
a person because of it.
Let's light a fire under somebody's ass. How about we demand our
government work for us instead of corporate America? I hear so many
people say that they support the war in Iraq. How many of them sign
up? People bitch about gas prices, but everyone is still driving 80
mph on the highway and not rolling their windows down on nice days
instead of using their air conditioner to save gas.
It just looks like hard times are on the horizon. I wonder how we'll
deal with it all. If it gets too bad, you'll find me in a national
forest with a coffee pot, guitar, fishing pole and maybe a couple
beers. Join if you like.
David Breland is the managing editor of The Reflector. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.