Telling My Stories

A life lived outside

Come the Revolution

Posted by catkisser on June 16, 2009

I attended Ohio State during the late sixties, early seventies, the “hippy” era and definitely considered myself a “freak” in the political, radical sense. We said this back then, we believed it. The Revolution was coming any day, the country would embrace counter culture values, we would change the world.

If you didn’t live through that period no amount of documentaries or movies can convey how much we believed that. It was a period of time of political change, martyrs to the causes of justice, street action, liberation movements springing up almost daily. It was a period of time when you could safely hitchhike almost anywhere knowing that arriving in a strange city you would be able to find a place to sleep and someone would feed you. It was a time of free clinics, free stores, shared resources. Never before or after had I ever felt a sense of community to even come close with any group. In that respect, it was probably the highlight of my life. The people I met and associated with even called ourselves “the Family”, feeling closer to each other than our birth families who often rejected us for our lifestyles and life philosophies.

My non-birth Family stayed close over the years through the raising of our own individual families, sea changes of politics and values, careers choices and even the spreading out of socio-economic class. That ended for me personally when I finally transitioned and to this day the hurt is as fresh as when it happened.

I bring this up because I see the same consciousness trying to arise anew split up by identity politics but fueled by the same disgust in our government and liberal broken policies as then. Like then we are involved in a seemingly endless, pointless war but lacking the unfairness of the draft to finish uniting opposition. No, today economics fuel who’s bodies are put at risk in war rather than a draft that cut across socio-economic classes. Makes it much easier for the middle class to be able to be less involved…..but the economic collapse is changing that as the middle class is less and less secure and only a layoff or two away from being poor. Stonewall 2.0 is poised to happen if only the same Mattachine conserva-queers who openly opposed it then get out of the way today.

Feminism is slowly being reborn again in the face of the most rigid gender role enforcing point our society has ever been at since the mid-fifties when I grew up. America is almost at a point of civil war dealing with our own homegrown terrorists, the religious right and frustration with the “change we can believe in” broken promises for equal rights, this time economic justice and social justice for lesbian, gays, trans, bisexuals and others in some fashion “queer”.

Once again it feels to me that “Come the Revolution” is in the air but this time the violence promises to kill far far more than the Goodman, Schwerner and Chaneys, the Martins and Bobbies, the Jackson State and Kent State students, those three little girls in a church basement.

Come the Revolution….it’s finally coming I think some forty years later than I thought but it lacks the sense of community we had back then……and that’s a shame.  And I confess, the older me fears it as much as welcomes it.

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