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As we enter the Hippie Day four day weekend I, along with millions of others, will use the opportunity to gather with family and friends. We will waste kilowatts flittering to the homes of loved ones, gather ’round the family hookah, stuff ourselves with tofu turkey and play hologames or watch futbol on the holo. And few of us will consider the meaning of the holiday.
This is a shame.
Every citizen of the United Americas owes the hippies a debt they can never repay – and that most don’t even understand. Today we live in a world that hasn’t seen a significant war in 40 years. The huge sums that had been wasted on armaments have instead been used to provide healthcare and social services to our population of almost a billion.
Compared to the time of the hippies we have almost no crime or extreme poverty or childhood mortality. Our Gross National Happiness ratings are now right up there with the European Union, despite coming from behind. We can vacation to L5 or even Moonbase Jerry Brown and Health Secretary Elders makes available to everyone Japan’s finest animatronic lovedolls in all genders and races.
It is hard to imagine the path that the Americas might have descended had not the hippies activism succeeded and Richard Nixon been elected President rather than RFK.
In those dark days young men were told that they should follow orders and kill people and that this was “honorable”. Churches were corrupt and in bed with the government, promoting nationalism and militarism. Our most respected Christian church, the Society of Friends, was looked down upon as a minor cult and Buddhism was practically unknown except as asian monks setting themselves afire.
In those days US Presidents could practically guarantee their re-elections by waging war against much smaller nations and had no difficulty in fabricating a lie ( in this case it was “Tonkin Gulf”) to justify the war and make it appear that the US was under threat from the small and defenseless nation.
Imagine if that were still true today, when our leaders are applauded for keeping the peace and it would take a seriously considered declaration of war to attack an “enemy” nation.
To understand what the hippies were up against you need to understand that the entire culture maintained fictions about both the purpose of the war and the purpose of the warrior. Everyone pretended that the purpose of the war was to “bring freedom” to Vietnam, while we appointed token dictators and when that one didn’t work out assasinated them and appointed a new one. We maintained the fiction that honorable soldiers would be fighting enemy soldiers honorably on battlefields with civilian populations unharmed, all the while dropping literally millions of tons of bombs and millions of tons of poison on the country – and neighboring neutral countries as well. Secretly.
And hippies were told that if they just followed orders and joined the war they would be “heroes”, they would receive government handouts and preferential treatment and their future lives as businessmen and politicans would be assured.
Otherwise they risked prison or exile or the Group W Bench and their futures would be ruined. Hippies were spit upon. The Governor of California wanted to run them over with his car. Many were bludgeoned in police riots. In Ohio they were shot.
So during this long weekend let’s all follow President David Bowie’s lead and take a few tokes and a few moments reflecting upon the heroism of the hippies – and should you happen to meet an aging hippie or have one in your group of family and friends, be sure to thank them for their service.
It seems appropriate to conclude with the words of the EU’s Prime Minister Lennon: