In Fourteen Hundred and Ninty Two
Colombus sailed the ocean blue.
He raped and killed
As much as he willed
and white people know this to be true.
I’m a straight white male, and a sociopath, but I repeat myself.
Sex is filthy! but only if you do it right.
“We were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.”
A very famous line from the often too over-quoted hipster bible “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” but still it rings true despite all the near sighted hipsters who use it to enable their douchery. What rings true is how Hunter Thompson was the only one of his generation to call them out for what they were.
What he understood was the truth that was expressed in another over-quoted piece of pop culture, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.”
That is what happened with the love generation, with the generation that genuinely believed they could stop an immoral war and solve poverty with peace and love, and consciousness expansion for $3 a hit. Now that the acid has worn off and their tie die has faded they now cling to pink beanies or red hats, or the terrorist tri colors of red white and blue worn as tacky tank tops and cowboy shirts. When the reality sunk in that Tim Leary was full of shit, that Ken Kesey never actually had a goal, and that Allen Ginsberg liked little boys, a group of newly jaded adults had to come to terms with the reality of patriarchy and capitalism. Plus thanks to their votes and the good old fashioned American Personality cult the presidency of a hack film star and anti union union leader pumped on the acceleration on the road we had been put on into Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, what has this disillusioned enablers of the very system they so once hated given us? A reality tv star white supremacist clown-fascist and an “opposition” that would rather keep capitalism alive than give the people what they actually need. What has this presidency given us? Jack shit for the good of humanity, it has merely taught us all a valuable lesson about looking at the reality of our situation. There is no silver lining to Trump’s presidency, but the Millennials are in the midst of their own high and beautiful wave as Hunter and his comrades once did.
There is a movement of solidarity within the sports world. People of Color and women are taking to the streets to be recognized as equals. Not to mention Communism is making quite the comeback, all of it to my radical freak flag wave fuck the norm enjoyment.
But what now? Like the crest of the wave of the baby boomers, our wave will come crashing down to. All waves come crashing down, it’s just a matter of what they leave in their wake. Will our wave leave destruction in it’s wake like our elder’s did? Or will we just roll back into the ocean, to build up for the next perfect storm?
Will the socialist revolution actually happen in my lifetime? Or will we settle into the cold realities of capitalism like previous generations did? Can we even afford to do that anymore? Are we really creating a sustainable future for ourselves? Are we really the agents of change we like to think of ourselves as.
We are not like Hunter’s generation. We are not a collective of Janis Joplin’s and Jimi Hendrix’s, we are a generation of Rosa Luxemburg’s Malcom X’s, of Rosa Parks’s and Ceasar Chavez’s. We are an ongoing Stonewall Riot, a never ending sit in. Our parents and older cousins might be about “The Resistance,” but we are a part of The Revolution. We are the generation that is throwing off the shackles of Nixon’s drug war, of Reagan’s Neoliberalism, of GOP War Mongering, and of liberal complacency and cowardice.
I like to think that when our wave comes crashing down, what will be left in the wake of our tsunami will be something more progressive than what Gen X or Baby Boomers gave us. Socialism or Barbarism is not just a call to arms, for many of us shackled with debt, out of control rent, and flat wages revolution is a need not just a want.
The current presidency is the personification of all these imperialist tendencies and living evils that are choking our Earth and our lives. That is what I hope our generation will leave in our wake, a permanent revolution. Be it at the ballot box or otherwise, we must learn from the mistakes of the love and anti war movements. We cannot just cling to abstracts like peace and love the way that reactionaries and liberals cling to patriotism. We must give people genuine social alternatives, and that is what we give that baby boomers never gave themselves, genuine social alternatives. Not just alternative states of consciousness thanks to a psychedelic guru.
This is not a rant against drugs, I love drugs to be honest. It is not even meant to be critical of the drug culture both past and present. No, this is just a venting. A plea from my poor little struggling millennial soul. Who am I? Who are we? What are we doing? We are in fact riding the crest our own high wave right now, whether or not it’s beautiful is debatable. What is not not debatable is that we need to learn from our elders mistakes. When we look back at where our wave breaks and rolls back, we should see nothing but progress left in our wake. We not only can do this but we must, or we will be destroyed, just like the others were.