Rebellion Rebirth 2/9/20: Well, we marched yesterday. The local small city had a little Valentines festival going on, and the food Co-op was celebrating its 40th anniversary, so there was some traffic on the streets. Though it was bitterly cold and windy, a dozen of us walked a loop ending at the Co-op, and hung around outside there for a while. Dressed in a parka, sunglasses, and an orange hunting cap with an “Extinction Rebellion” sticker on it, I was apparently undercover, unrecognizable. Did I do that for good or bad reasons, or both? Some friends went right by. We were rewarded with a modicum of honking horns and smiles. I had made a publicity effort: I emailed 60-80 friends and acquaintances. Received 2 answers (from folks whose “Sorry” was a good excuse, them being out of town). No-one I contacted showed up. A clear answer from the world, and one I expected, though it is disheartening to have it sent so starkly. The wind blew my two homemade signs to pieces, but they will be repaired.
I felt all the stuff I expected, too. Useless, embarrassed, self-indulgent, and stupid. That’s how I felt during much of the active 60s – and yet something happened anyway. The world got a little better, a bit more aware and compassionate. I suspect the rest of us who have now turned 70 felt the same way back then. But you also get to feel, as I did yesterday, that you are ahead of the game, morally and progressively. “Don’t worry, I’ll save the damn world FOR you”. Actually said that out loud at one point. I saw the faces. Even the folks who I knew would be politically on our side looked uncomfortable and sometimes alarmed by actual though friendly confrontation. People I know. Interesting.
Some of these few marchers are deeply into “Extinction Rebellion”, but I think it’s a minority. I suspect most feel, like me, that it is a banner to carry along but we’ll retain our own individual thoughts for progress. Some of their propaganda is questionable. But so what? Like I said, I remember the SDS, the PLP, the Panthers, the women’s movement, each morphing into other things, then falling apart. Now we have the Sunrise Movement, this Extinction one, Fridays for Future, and the Climate Citizen’s Lobby. And many more. Only partially successful or even partially logical things, if true, can coalesce into a mighty river and flow downstream, covering the land, until gradually sinking into the culture and nourishing it. Time marches on.
This afternoon, there is a ‘seminar’ by a local state politician. Put on by our conservation organization, it will supposedly tell us what we can do, and what she and her fellow politicos, will do, about the climate. Not convinced it’ll yield much valuable info. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt (friends have positive things to say) but I reserve judgement and am ready to snap at her if nothing seems workable. I have very little patience left; I want to personally make something change. At 70, I “rage, rage against the dying of the light”. Not my own light, though – you know the light I mean. I want you all to turn on your love light, for each other and the planet that nurtures us, and “leave it on”.