Sunday, October 17, 2004

The rise of the gummer revolutionaries?

When Bonnie was a hippie
I hope this time we can dress warmer
Facilitating a discussion last night after a campus showing of Control Room, the documentary on Al Jazeera's coverage of the Iraq War, it was clear that those who stayed were at least over 40, maybe mostly over 50. Without a draft to compel them to pay attention to this war, younger people today have better things to do on a Saturday night than talk politics.

Looking around the group, it seems clear that my generation wants another shot at the -isms -- imperialism, materialism, fundamentalism. Are the radicals of the Sixties ready to emerge from their chrysalis of raising families, building careers and paying mortgages? Are we up to the challenge of battling the establishment again? When I was lining up interviews for my anti-Drug War Movie, I found myself talking again and again to Boomers over 60 who had taken an early retirement to work for causes they cared about. There's the retired teacher fighting for medical marijuana. The retired police detective trying to end the drug war.

One man last night talked about what we should have learned from Viet Nam, singling out a slick military PR official in the movie named Lt. Rushing as a prime example of a "REMF" (a Rear Echelon M-----F-----). Rushing is the smiling fascist who sells the world the war as liberation, not occupation. He's the superb actor who knows how to stay on message while pretending that he's listening to the other side.

One woman talked of our own media's collusion -- CNN & company tell us the number of U.S. soldiers killed every day, yet they never even estimate the number of dead Iraqis.

Imagine what a force a band of energized gummers could be! We would have the time in retirement to fight for the unpopular causes that others won't touch. Many of us have also gained skills and even clout far beyond what we possessed in the Viet Nam era. A Woodstock-type love-in might not be a sight I would be eager to see, but I for one am eager to dust off those love beads and make one last effort to change the paradigm from war to peace, from fear to freedom, from unrestrained greed to caring for the planet.

In this election, the question is, which of the two war candidates do you prefer? We can do better than that if the duffers get off their duffs. Age of Aquarius? How about the age of Social Securitarians? It's time. It's time. Let's just hope it's not too late.

1 comment:

frederik urshgur said...

pull yer head out of that swarm of gadflys and you'll realize your hope for a gummer gambit will be stifled by one primary generational concern: the value of their retirement annuity. the "safe" option will always be chosen en masse in that demographic, thus an empty suit like kerry for prez, a corporate political party like demipublican for action, a two issue (health care/social security protection) advocacy group like aarp, bladda bladda blah. your precious gummers are glad to derail any investment in youth to protect their entitlements and annuities. in fact, as the baby boomers lose their teeth they are presiding over a complete inversion of social investment. we have moved from investing in the future to chaining the future in debt slavery to pay for current tax cuts, corporate subsidies and profits (for our annuities, don't forget), entitlements, and health care follies. Funny how the boomer gummers went from blaming their parents' generation for all social ills to blaming their kids' generation, and taking their social resources with them. Except when it comes to policing and prisons, of course...