Tuesday, June 10, 2014

sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone

After the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to end the Second World War, human life was altered.  Or -- people's experience of life, and perception of what was possible, were altered.  People were (to use Friends idiom "freaked out."  Not in a noisy way (like with demonstrations and protests and riots in the streets during the Sixties), but in a quiet, private way.

We have the bomb.

The U.S.S.R. has the bomb.

No one better press the button because then we'll all be dead, and for what?

This was the tension of modern life, what the author Eric Lax calls "the outrageous and absurd finality that the atomic age augured."

And all 'round the planet, in some specific and local "pockets," communism competed with democracy, for numbers, and dominance.

CubaKoreaVietnamSouthAmerica -- etc....

Since the end of WWII, conflict-management and democracy-encouragement on planet earth has been done in the form of smaller projects, because we (humanity) cannot have something as big as WWII again, what with various countries all having Nuclear Capability.

We cannot let conflicts get that big, ever again.

And we cannot let untenable situations and economies get that bad, ever again.

Cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma works at doing something positive through music -- which might make some people ask, "What?", until we remember that -- this was exactly exactly the point of the Woodstock music festival in 1969 hello??!

{A person can Google-and-type-in "conversation between david gergen and yo yo ma"}

They discuss things, touch on job creation; Mr. Ma says, you have three things, economics, politics, and culture (which, he says, usually takes a back seat).  He says, "We have to lift culture..."

David Gergen agrees with him and Yo Yo Ma asks him, "You don't think that's a crazy idea?"

"It's not a crazy idea."

"Can I get that in writing?"

David Gergen (who worked for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton) says, re the "economics, politics, and culture" thing, that in our country, currently, we have a breakdown of political culture

("We have to get something out of this and I don't know what that even is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
-- Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman)

...and a breakdown of civic culture.

And then they discuss the third thing -- culture.  Ma describes, as an example, another Citizen Musician he knows who Plays For Prisoners.  Goes to detention centers and plays for the incarcerated, and helps them put on musical shows.

To me, this sounds like -- not the exact same activity, but the exact same idea, as Woodstock.

Three days of peace and music.

Now, of course, the Vietnam War did not end immediately in August 1969.  End because half-a-million people enthusiastically attended a concert.  However, it's a statement, a symbolic statement.  Statements are not without impact.