“I gave you that gift. So I’ll tell you how to use it.”
Now how damn selfish does that sound?
But I’m afraid we say or at least act out those words everyday.
My parents’ generation was not too fond of the fact that their offspring used freedom of speech — which they felt was a gift to us from them — to protest things that were not popular to protest 50 years ago. Things like racial, gender, and sexual inequality. Or wars fought for reasons other than what our elected officials told us. Or corporate corruption. Or man-made environmental dangers. Or the sexual objectification of women.
And I completely understand their reasoning.
They lost their jobs, homes and farms but survived the Great Depression. They endured two horrific world wars and buried their friends and family members. And all was done to preserve freedom — for themselves and their children.
And damn it, they wanted to make sure we didn’t use that freedom to do and say things that did not meet their approval. Period.
Well, the admonitions didn’t work. We kept talking. And doing. Some of the stuff we said and did was brilliant. But other things — maybe not so much. But we tried. And many in the “Greatest Generation” lived to appreciate and join in the dialogue…
…the dialogue that continues, that is.
My 20-something-year-old students discuss race, gender, sex, current events, violence and politics all the time. They definitely have their opinions and they’re not always like mine.
And sometimes, they don’t vote the way us older revolutionaries tell them to vote.
Don’t they realize we struggled so they could grow up in a world different from the one we faced when we were their age? If it hadn’t been for us, they wouldn’t enjoy the personal or professional freedoms they have now.
And that goes for all of them — no matter their gender.
But these young folks, they have their own minds. They think they know of what they speak. Little do they…
And now I sound like voices from my past.
Which brings me back to where I end so often:
Life: it’s a circle, not a straight line.
We won’t forget today as soon as it’s over. We’ll call it yesterday and put it in a reservoir of reality that becomes part of today when tomorrow becomes today and today becomes yesterday and tomorrow becomes today and on and on.
I mean we are all spinning on a planet that just happens to be round. And there’s a reason for that.
It’s how we survive.
Because straight lines don’t converge.
They just disappear into space.