Where have all the flowers gone?
With the recent passing of Mary Travers, I found myself digging into my now somewhat dusty memory and humming and later singing the words to this old refrain, which in my youth was a statement of the events of the day. I now find myself asking the same question: "Where have all the flowers gone?"
You still remember the words, and the meaning of this and so many songs that addressed the issues of our now distant, but not forgotten, youth. The past, but still a so important time that now seems so long ago, and so far away. And if you don't know what I am talking about here because of your youth, have an elder fill you in. Have someone tell you about those times when a common purpose ruled the day. When we made a real difference in our own destiny, and in the future of those yet to come along.
So now I ask you where have you gone? The flowers of a generation that has now seen better days than in our then confused youth, not trusting anyone over 30, and never mind what was called the "establishment." I still remember those days. A young man fighting against all that I thought to be unfair, unjust and wrong. And yes even now I fight and scream to the heavens, how much more of this are we willing to take. I am not talking about the overthrow of the somewhat now out-of-control government. Just a good house cleaning and re-examination of the stale, stagnant present day so-called leaders who lead us into insane madness, mayhem and chaos. Those who sit in judgment of us even as they have no clue, as to who they judge for their so-called justice, yet the guilty go unpunished. Jefferson once said that "a little revolution every now and then is a good thing." I can't think of a better time to start, can you? They say that those who don't learn from their history are doomed to repeat it. Is doomsday now not too close at hand?
Where are you now who fought against the hate of segregation. The idea of taking young men and women away from their homes and families to be put into uniform and be sent away to die for reasons that were never made clear. The people who introduced the idea of stopping a war that we knew, and were later proven right, could not be won. The people who caused a president to quit, and another to confess to his crimes and retreat with his tail between his legs. The idea of giving women the same rights as their male counterparts. The thought that your sexual identity made no difference as to who you were.
Have you become so complaisant and secure in the brainwashing of our failing economic system that all that matters is your credit rating? Yet you will still pay the late fees, and over limit fees and only because your car needs repair or some emergency, or other everyday event has put you in a financial difficulty. Isn't 16 percent enough for those who laugh in their executive suites and at their lavish parties as those who support their craziness scratch and scrape just to survive. The ones among us who suffer from the lack of a medical system that can't even come close to meeting their needs. Where choices have to be made between gasoline, fuel for heat, or medication, and even food, because our government can't provide.
The ones who levy fines and talk of insurance who don't and in some cases won't even try to do what they have promised. But sadly and most importantly the ones who show no compassion, or humanity, and just don't care in the slightest, so long as you continue to jump through the never ending hoops, to maintain the lifestyle of the overly rich and soon to be forgotten famous.
Have you gone to seed, unable to lift your head to the sun? Have you become no more than worthless weeds to be cut down by the machines of our overly tired and uncaring system? Or even worse have you been pulled up by the roots and thrown away to rot, only to become dust in he wind? I think not. In your heart as in mine still linger the coals of a once raging fire that consumed all that was unjust and wrong in our paths and those of others.
I recently returned from a 38 state, 11,000 mile, six week road trip around this country and let me tell you even from my somewhat distorted view, I saw that it is still alive and well, the values are still there, the morals are still reverent despite the views of so many who have become distorted in their own beliefs, that of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as long as we do it their way, and in the name of their God, and cast our values to the wayside.
So I ask you now my brothers and sisters to rally one more time to show the ones who are lost in the maze of our tired, old and ever aging society the way to the light of true freedom, caring, and most importantly love. Yes love of ourselves and everything we once held and still hold so dear and sacred. If not for yourself, then for your children and grandchildren. Do not make them have to pay the price for our complacency. We can do it one more time. For it is up to us. We have to hang together or we will all surely hang separately. For if this madness is not stopped now it will only continue to destroy us, all in the name of greed. For just a little bit of money.
I ask you now, the wise ones who have achieved so much from your experiences and knowledge, for it is now up to us to show the way. Even if you are too tired to lead, the least you can do is advise from your own known truths, and experiences of the past, the present and the still all too soon to come future. With no other solution in sight. And by all means do something if it seems wrong. I would ask you to do one more small yet very important thing. Ask yourself in the words of this timeless song: "When will we ever learn."
And in closing to these ramblings, when you finally hear the music once again, by all means get up and dance! Just one more time. Peace to you all.
A. Charles Burgess lives in Camden.