Sunday, July 6, 2014

Christ as hippie (Aug. 24, 1980)

Each day slips away now as the summer comes slowly to a close. I am left with mixed feelings.
 Last night, I watched the movie version of "Hair" and came to realize just how much was lost with the end of the 1960s, how much human spirit, concern and action died when the Sixties stopped. Those children rebelled against the system and its dictates, exposing the fallacies by which people lived their lives.
 John Telson, my old co‑worker from Cosmetics Plus and later Wine Imports of America, came up to me after my second attempt to overflow what I saw as a fascist system of labor for thinking badly of me the first time. At Cosmetics Plus, I wrote letters to the manufactures to let them know the sneaky business practices my bosses employed. At Wine Imports, I wrote the head of the union to inform him about how corrupt our shop steward was. After both instances, I got fired.
 "You're the spirit of the Sixties that's been lost," John told me, but he was wrong.
 While some of the 1960s have rubbed off on me, much of what I believe came from earlier teachings, from lessons I learned in the 1950s when I attended Catholic School.
 Unlike my fellow students, I related to Christ in a special way, seeing him less as a teacher and preacher or a man whose life we should emulated, but as a troubled soul, struggling with critics outside and doubt within. I thought then and think now that Christ met with much of the same pain and abuse as I do in my effort to resist being shaped by forces and ideas I cannot believe.
 While I believe Christ has an influence of the rebels of the 1960s, a model of an early protestor the 1960s could fall back on, I see him as much more troubled as most of the 1960s rebels ever were, working his way through the details of his own protest the way I'm working through the details of mine.
 Now many of the 1960s rebels are old and disappointed, unprotected by the naivety that covered them when they were young. Now many who followed the up and down of various movements understand how they were manipulated, led by the nose by people with agendas other than those stated, left and right wing agendas now unveiled. We can not longer believe in dreams as we once did.
 Jerry Rubin, once a voice of our generation, works down on Wall Street and boasts of a new movement, he calls YUPPIES. The sad remnants of the Weather Underground make their stumbling way to the surface again, confessing their crimes so that they might be once more accepted into mainstream society.
 Meanwhile, those few valuable things gained through struggle in the 1960s are vanishing again, as the new masters of society feel free to reassert themselves. We will soon have the draft again, and will soon begin again to contemplate war. The abuses of workers are on the rise again, as the unskilled and the blue collar earn less and less. The power of a few evil men will now reemerge, although better disguised for their experience with our protests of the past.
 When I was a hippie my hippie friends kept telling me how Christ was a hippie, too, wearing sandals the way we wore them, protesting big government and wealthy men's abuses the way we did. But now, as I grow older I come to realize that Christ was also a man, full of the same doubt, and the same pain, and the same struggle to determine if his own motives were pure.
 I know he would tell slave master bosses like mine to go to hell when they demanded more work for less money. I know if he were to appear to day, in some modern guise, the world would treat him as badly as it did the first time, finding some new means of killing him.

 I am constantly shocked by how the world can sing the praises of a man it would hate if ever actually meeting him face to face.

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