I’ve got this one track on my music player – it’s originally by Joni Mitchell, but I’ve only got the Matthew’s Southern Comfort version. The track’s called Woodstock, it’s rather well known, it’s nothing like what I normally listen to (heavy, heavy, heavy) and it almost makes me cry every time I listen to it.
Why? There’s a sense of golden optimism suffusing the song. You get the feeling that the protagonist really believes there’s change in the air, that tomorrow will be a better day…
And look at it.
War, global warming, poverty, hunger, natural disasters, devisiveness, sheer stupidity, hatred, pollution, fear, ignorance, bigotry and the failure of everything we’ve come to believe in. Our children are growing up into a world where nothing’s certain, where social immobility and bigotry are rife. A world that’s slowly being murdered, a world adrift, a world corrupted and broken and miserable.
They – we? do I still count as a child?- are being taught to internalise poisonous social norms, to use tunnel vision, to cramp our potential, to hate, to fear, to die. And there’s no god in the sky to save us from ourselves.
I think, at heart, all most people want is to be able to live their lives free of injustice and barriers. To live, love, work in the way that best suits our wants and abilities.
Why the hell have we made a society where that is impossible?
Learning is now an exercise in, ‘what financial gain do I get out of this?’ Where is the love of learning, the love of discovery and knowledge for knowledge’s sake? Social justice is about, ‘what do I get out of this?’ rather than, ‘this situation is wrong.’
The good of the individual is the good of the society, and needs to be viewed in parallel. It’s never good to marginalise people, both because they are people and deserve full recognition as such and because they are valuable resources for everyone’s future.
People are having to spend their life savings just to live. That’s a screwed up system.
Politics is oriented towards short-term goals that generally amount to ‘POWER! I WANT POWER!!!! BWAAAHAHAHAHA!!!!’ That’s no good for anyone or anything. We have to take the long view.
We can’t afford to keep on like this. Maybe tomorrow’s world will be better – but the cockerel has started crowing.