I was born on a hot sweaty day in North Carolina towards the end of the summer of love, 1967. Neither of my parents had any hippie aspirations, no marching on Washington for either of them, as Motown was their groove. From a family, on both sides of the 49th, of rural stock, generation after generation working the land that had passed down to them, no protesting of anything, ‘cept maybe the price of gasoline. The guns we had, or, er, they had, were farm tools, like a tractor, or a shovel to muck the barn.
Watching the video, all 7:14 minutes (I think it was), watching silence, and those hazy black and white images came to my mind, and as summer seems still far away, and of that other one 50 years ago, I am reminded.
Watching her face, unchanging, unyielding, and sadness dripped from my own eyes that she even had to be so stoic.
But that’s not what is really on my mind. Well, ok, it is, but that is just one thing. Or, not JUST that one thing, because there are many things clamouring for our, and my, undivided attention, like a toddler having a temper tantrum, is the adults, and I count myself now of their number.
I mean, seriously, there is a plethora of fodder, from the porn star to the protester to distract one from the mundanity of one’s own bog-standard life, if one is in need of some distraction, which it would seem many are.
“Stars open among the lilies.
Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?
This is the silence of astounded souls.”
― Sylvia Plath, Crossing the Water
And on morning radio, as my workmates and I plodded away in those early A.M hours, the announcers blathered on about the porn star that had spilled some of her calculated guts on National TV the night before. Not a word about the kids marching for their lives down there in that same town, and we all agreed on how the media’s carnivorous taste for those salacious details was getting rather boring.
To be sure, the liberal media has the taste of blood in their mouths, and for some reason feel compelled to be the undoing of that Orange one that inhabits the Oval Office. Totally despise his rancid self, and would like nothing more than to see him gone, however, there are far bigger fish to fry.
Plus, I say leave him be, now that he has diminished the power of the American Presidency, the damage he can wield has also diminished. Tick, tock, and eventually he will be exposed, I have faith in the justice system down there enough to have faith in it’s dogged hunt for the truth.
But those kids. Holy moly. To see the numbers stretching and ranging from those storied streets, where others have gone before them, pounding their fists in the air, as their feet pound the pavement, making their voices heard, as did others before them.
“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”
― Arundhati Roy
The cacophony of the feeding frenzy of the media, the talking heads, the tweets and twits, and through it all, at a podium at the heart of her country, a young woman stands in silence, staring out at me from this 12″ screen, and I think why must they take away your innocence so young, as my hand sweeps the screen as if she were right there.
She gives me hope. That young woman, Emma Gonzalez, with all her experiences, fresh and new, with idealism clenched in her fist, makes change seem inevitable, when even my gun-toting, sweet and gentle Trump supporting southern Step-Mom said she thought those automatic weapons gotta go.
These young people today, those who have known only a twitter feed and photoshopped memes, have reached beyond political divides, are the Grandkids, you know, of that Summer of Love. Some fool thinks they will be swayed, delayed, or distracted by something their generation created tells it all. Underestimate this generation, and they will just walk over your stereotypes, your prejudices, and pre-conceived notions as if swatting away a mosquito on a hot summer day.
“All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others.”
― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
And so instead she stands in silence.
Powerful, undaunted, uncomfortable, silence.