After reading Rachel Maddow's "war is now OK" book, "Drift"...and after reading John Nichol's "Uprising" which talks about the past and SOME "Great Gray Nappers" beginning to awaken now...and after working the streets between one and five times per week for over five years on behalf of PEACE...and after recently attending two days of Seatte's Folk Life Festival at the beautiful Seattle Center this past weekend...[bringing along my "anti-war...pro-peace...pro-environment...pro-green energy...pro-voting reform" banners and signs to perform some timely CI...Civil Informationing]...I MUST conclude that those whom I have called out as being "The Great Gray Nappers" [seen in my white paper outlining CI...Civil Informationing: modernizing public activism...search at this website for more info]...are...
...actually far, far more troubling to our social and political society than them STILL JUST NAPPING!
This "old hippe"...1960s-1970s type group of citizens who have now grown gray after their seemingly ONE public political effort 50 years ago [ yup-in the LAST CENTURY folkies...]...are actually now COMPLICIT in our wars and the demise of our democracy. This is very, very disturbing to me. I have some issues with Rachel, but please read her book and get a feel for the atrophy of our anti-war and pro-democracy muscles. Many lefty gray hairs are now COMPLICITLY NUMB!
Anyway, while carrying my self-made banners and signs in a rig [see pics attached..but at CenturyLink Field in SoDo-Seattle] all around the beautiful Seattle Center, including setting up at the sides of the various stages where thousands of "gray hairs" easily SAW my messaging, the VAST MAJORITY of these old gray hairs did not show any support at all. Only an embarassingly few came up and thanked me for standing up...about 10 folks in 4,000 gray hairs or so.
This is a completely different reaction than what I got from the youth oriented demographic in attendance [20,000-30, 000 or so in two days]...a RADICAL outnumbering of "The Great Gray Compliciters"...thankfully. The kids GOT all my messaging...and there was a constant flow of our youth coming up to me, even with my own gray hair, and thanking me and enjoining with me in some wonderful conversations. When I perform CI in the public square its the BEST days of my week...the kids are coming...and I'm onboard!
So, at each major stage and lawn seating venue which had its measure of The Great Gray Compliciters in attendance, the ONLY thing that even came close to stirring their emotions were the songs from LAST CENTURY that seemed to remind them of the good ole "kum-by-ya" days, the hootinanneys, the togetherness and emotions from a far away history. In the end, this response, and lack of response, is tell-tale for the status of our democracy.
On my way home to Kingston, WA [a little town that actually SEEMS quite peace oriented due in part to the work that had been done by the long demised "North Kitsap Neighbors for Peace" organization [they folded tent about five years ago]...and of course because now I'm in Kingston's streets at least once a week...including outside the High School about once a month], it all came to me.
The song "Comfortably Numb" was surely written at a time after the 1960s-1970s where Pink Floyd was chronicling that the masses were falling asleep...or becoming "numb" to what was going on around them...and also that it was because those who had previously risen up and had stood against power and who had questioned authority, were now reaching a level of "comfort" where their common refrain was best said in Mad Magizine's: "What, Me Worry?". Worry they haven't...worry they don't...COMPLICIT IN WAR AND OUR DEMOCRACY'S DEMISE THEY ARE!
Now, the dispora of "The Great Gray Compliciters" does not represent those with gray hairs on the right side of the political dial...THAT group of "grays" have been going to church, yapping about abortion, refining their racist feelings and tactics, spreading the fear of the Muslim World and injecting Islamophobia into the national discussion, and supporting any type of warring activity that is imaginable...just like good right wingers DO...regardless of their ages. No, the gray hairs that I am talking about are "The Great Gray Nappers" who had ONE short period of politcal activism last century, who had helped start up so many progressive issues...and the over the last few decades...have QUIT BEING INVOLVED...or INFORMED!
When I connect with youth in the streets, at protest gatherings, within the Occupy events, or at festivals and the like, I get immediate street cred because when I chat with the kids, I immediately apologize for what my generation...including "The Great Gray Nappers-turned-Compliciters", have created for them...the world for them to grow up into. The list of failures and troubles is long, very visible, all connected to with each other...and ALL OF THESE ISSUES lie right at the feet of those gray haired citizens who were "supposed to be driving the car democracy" for the last 40 years or so...but they fell asleep and drove it into the ditch instead!
And I get my greatest praise and support from the youth when I make the following claim by asking them if the following question is something that they, the youth, would feel to be an appropriate question directed towards their gray haired elders IF the kids could even come close to communicating with these thoroughly "unplugged...deep napping...laurels resting" group that should be their respected and interested elders...here is the question:
"If I were a kid, would a valid question to your parents and grandparents be: 'What the F _ _ K have you been doing for the last 30 years?' ".
The kids immediately smile and look at me knowing full well that I just tapped into their thoughts. They slap me with high fives, some fist bumps, many peace V signs, clear words of "Thanks". And its great! And most of the youth who are now "Occupying Occupy_____?...agree readilly that this is WHY the Occupy Wall Street Movement was started up principally by the well informed-very plugged in-furure looking YOUTH of today...and tellingly...WHY their elders WERE NOT INVITED to start this new movement. [Obviously some "gray hairs" who have remained "plugged in" and politically active since last century also "got it"...and have blended in with this movement...aka...like those who read this blog are the GREAT GRAYS...and not napping!]
The reason that the elders, in general, were not invited to create this new movement is also very, very simple...and sad. Its because most of these elders have a history...a history of being only a one trick pony...a history of performing only ONE trick supporting democracy ONCE in their one lifetimes...and that this was in the LAST CENTURY...and that indeed, these elders have been asleep at the wheel ever since.
Had these elders been awake, appropriately skeptical, and actively overseeing our democracy, our democracy would not be in the depths of this warring "corporatocracy" that John Perkins has explained to us in "Economic Hitman" and other books.
So, its inescapable now..."The Great Gray Nappers" have actually napped their way into being "The Great Gray War Compliciters". Further, its so very clear that this demographic resides solely on "the left" because at this stage of life, they should know better...they should know FAR BETTER!
On the bright side, Nichols and his "Ode to Wisconsin" shows us that once awakened, "The Great Gray Compliciters" can and will make a HUGE difference. This is mostly the story because once they do wake up, they see that they have indeed been "asleep at the wheel of democracy"...and they wake up with a certain vengance or determination to make up for past mistakes.
When the many conversations with the youth that I meet comes to an end, I ask them for a favor indicating how they can help out with this "napping" issue.
I ask them to buy grandma a "smart phone"...teach them how to use it...and help get them plugged into THIS CENTURY!
And the smiles get bigger...and the approvals get deeper...the youth GETS IT!
So, please try to wake up a "Great Gray Compliciter" today...
love, peace and progress
PS: Kudos to the organizers of the Northwest Folk Life event...they have clearly taken steps to tap into the youth of today by changing some of teh focus FROM THE PAST...INTO THE FUTURE. What a wonderful expression of our young people...beautiful, colorful, positive, plugged in to their emerging communications world, recognizing that peace and the environment are a better way to go...young parents and the kids running all around in and out of the HUGE central fountain getting wet...getting along...all colors...all sizes...all sexual orientations...all good! rdh