Off To The Side

Apparently I am a part of Generation Y…this reminds me of being a teenager in the 90s and thinking that the 80s had really ruined things for us as there was very little left to be other than nondescript.

I suppose that’s pretty apt in some ways, everything we protested about Generation X knew they could ignore. My Dad would laugh abou my protests as if they were a baby throwing it’s rattle out of it’s cage, that’s my Dad, whose generation included my French teacher who was in Paris in ’68 throwing cobbles, my Dad who told me with pride that if the world was watching police brutality could never be gotten away with, my Dad’s generation who included my PE Teacher who asked, when told I was on another protest march, if I even knew what I was protesting about. My Dad, who cynically spoke about the USA to his pre-pubescent daughter:

“Its a long way from the heartlands
to Santiago bay
Where the good doctor lies with blood in his eyes
and the bullets read U.S.of A.”

My Dad and his generation laughed at me when me and my generation marched and Generation X listened to the laughter of the baby-boomers, in a way that the silent generation never had when the baby-boomers had marched. And Generation X hugged dictators, made money, ended free tertiary education and ignored us as they had not been ignored. I was in Trafalgar Square in 2001 listening to the BBC describing us as half-filling the square – I looked around at the people packed into the square and down the roads that led into the square and I began to understand.

I had forgotten by the time FJ and I settled down to watch Obama’s inauguration. Half wondering if someone was going to stop the world we’d fallen under the same spell my dad’s generation did when faced with JFK.

The nighthawk flies and the owl cries as we’re driving down the road.
Listening to the music on the all night radio show,
The announcer comes on says if you’ve got ideas I’ll file the patent for you,
What’s an idea if it’s not in the store makin’ a buck or two.

But there’s no need to assassinate anyone these days. We are caught up in our own beliefs, we are passionate and we can be snowed by the previous generation because money drives the world and we don’t care about it enough to actually start powering through. We are nondescript still because we can be ignored and thus the revolution is now…so materialistic it makes me want to cry.

We drive to the town but the shutters are down and the all-night restaurant’s closed
Its the land of the free,we’ve got booze and T.V. and there’s tramps in the telephone booths.
The stars and the trees and the early Spring breeze say forget what assassins have done,
Take our good soil in the palm of your hands and wait for tomorrows sun.

I am interviewed by members of my fathers generation and the one between us and they look in askance at me, old enough (just) that they can’t believe I’ve never had a permanent contract after all such things must still exist. I talk about the fact I have a morgage and I run a car and they wonder why my finances are stretched.

This world has been so messed around by money and the people who are so much older are making so much that they have no concept or no memory of how to get by on so much less, which is, as we of Generation Y and whoever you guys coming up are going to be named, so very possible. Why has the revolution become so materialistic? Because whenever we have revolted for causes, we have the laughter of our fathers in our ears, maybe we thought we’d be listened to…and maybe it’s beginning to work?

Then again;

Its a long way from the heartlands
to Santiago bay
Where the good doctor lies with blood in his eyes
and the bullets read U.S.of A.

we were told a long time ago, by the capitalist giant of the world that democracy that equates to anything other than capitalism isn’t going to be brooked. And we, the masses, we paid attention, look at our revolution now and look at what we’re saying.

No wonder they’re still laughing.

The nighthawk flies and the owl it cries as we’re driving down the road,
The full moon reveals all the houses and fields where good people do what they’re told,
Victor Jara he lies with coins in his eyes there’s no one around him to mourn,
Who needs a poet who won’t take commands who’d rather make love then war.

We don’t really believe we can protest, we know they already won, democracy is a popularity contest these days and the only thing that matters is whose got more money to spend – the answer to that is the same as was fought against more than a hundred years ago. The people with the money are those whose fathers left it to them. Democracy is no such thing, the CIA murdered the last democratically elected communist and put another huggable dictator in his place and they go on trial, only when it’s politically expedient for the rich white men to put them there.

Salvador Allende

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