Transition Whatcom

Our wounded soldiers - forgotten, but not gone

The greatest revelation for me while tabling at the Bham Farmers' Market was coming into contact with a group of
sympathizers who haven't gotten very involved with Transition Whatcom
yet: burnt out hippies. Obviously we all know they're around - this is
Bellingham after all, but as a group they are conspicuously absent from
our active membership. Just to be clear, I'm talking about the folks
from the 60s and 70s who poured all their heart and soul into that time,
fully expecting that a real environmental revolution was just around
the corner.

When the Reagan scourge came instead, their dreams were destroyed. For a variety of reasons - drugs, hardship, the loss of
hope, Vietnam - many of these people didn't make it to the 21st century
fully intact. Amongst this group of people, depression and cynicism
are rules rather than exceptions. In short, they are die hard believers
in our cause, but no longer in a good place to be major leaders in
their community.

To me, these are the wounded veterans of a battle that has been going on for a century, with the worst fighting yet
some forty years ago. If we are to win in the long run, it will be
because of sacrifices and advances they made, because of ground they
held. They may no longer be able to fight on the front lines, but they
deserve honor and respect all the same.

I'm not proposing we build monuments to them, but maybe we should. The bottom line is,
especially if we succeed in fulfilling the dreams of those who came
before us, we should make sure there's a seat at our table for our
brethren: the burnt out hippies!

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Comment by Cindi Landreth on April 7, 2010 at 11:57pm
I so enjoyed this blog post. Thank you so much, Brian. There is potential book material here. It just might be time to start collecting the stories of all those that you are describing. I was born in '57, was a 'flower child' since grade 6, did everything I could think of to incorporate peace, love and harmony into my life and those lives around me. I wasn't politically minded....more of a cultural revolutionary. Still am. I hope more people find this post and add their stories. I will add more when I have time after TGU.
Comment by Toni Lyons on April 4, 2010 at 7:43pm
Yep, it's great to hear your appreciation for those of us who worked so passionately to try to transform the culture around us.

You're correct, it has been exhausting from time to time. There's been so little evidence of sanity. Just remember, not all of us who struggled are burned-out. Many of us are in fact are still in a position to lead. It's certainly easy to understand what has happened to those who are exhausted. Many have been stomped on, time and time again, by the insanity of a culture whose priority is to continue guzzling oil with no regard for the people who die or are maimed in the effort, with no regard for those who have become the cannon fodder of these wars (both real and metaphorical), both here and abroad. There has been little respect for their courage, intelligence and capacity.

Yet, there are still many of us who have weathered the struggle. We continue to have the strength to stand up and use our voice and the wisdom of our years to educate and lead. We have learned a great deal from the path we have taken. Our physical strength may not be what it once was, but if you want to stand beside us and lend a hand in the work we continue to do, it could help us keep going forward. You might also learn something in the process. We would love to pass on what we learned in the '60s and '70s to a new generation. It's amazing how much of what we knew then is still true. We hear its echoes in the voices of the passionate young. Our culture has continued to reap what it has sown.

Veterans of the marches. Veterans of the Movement. We're battered, but still "cutting edge". Thanks for taking up the call for sanity.

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