Make Bike Not Car

Make Bike Not Car

Feb 23, 2014.

It appears to me that we are turning into a world of activists, that we are reversing decades of minimum involvement by the masses in the determination of their destinies. It is happening on different continents and the response of established governments is not exactly the same, although the resistance to change is the most common response, and violence is often the result. In this country, ever since the under-reported and failed anti-war protest of ten years ago, it has been a sad period for political activism, aside from the Tea Party version. Curiously, the original, colonial Tea Party, was a bit of blame-the-victim, racist, black-bag op terrorism, with a spoonful of patriotism, and so is the current one for many of its most passionate adherents. The difference is that back then, we were rising up against protected monopolies and giant corporations, whereas the current version is largely funded by these megaliths.

We can do better, much better. If we need a theme song, how about the Automat’s egalitarian and inclusive “Let’s have another cup of coffee”?  We can organize friendly people in all the coffee shops, and let the people who have trouble with including everybody, have tea shops. We can have Starbucks and the corner diner and the morning breakfast table and they can have the crumpets. We can have meetings morning noon and night, all over town, to figure out how to take back this puppy from the beast. Confused and frightened people, looking for help are being told, ”Sharing is Socialism”. So elevators and trains must be hotbeds of Marxism, and water mains and sidewalks a sinister, devious plot, to tie us together and make us dependent.

So what is the needed response to the Tea Party? COCOA, Coffee Conversation Action maybe?  It’s not a Party exactly, (even though a little fun is always a welcome relief from the tedium), or a means to anoint the already too self-important with additional titles and privileges. Rather it’s a minimal mechanism for building an energetic, ongoing, constantly-evolving plan to maximize the chances that our species can have a healthy future on this rock. It is also an action agenda, without hysterical, lying demagogues, and without non-stop, one-dimensional self-interest masquerading itself as the common good and crushing our humanity in its path. We had sound-outs and teach-ins, but we need a continuously-refreshed framework that frees us with the truth instead of confining us in lies, open for business wherever and whenever sippers meet.

That’s the Coffee Conversation Action Agenda, COCOA2. Namely: Move over a little so there’s room for everybody and when it’s freezing out there, who doesn’t need something hot to drink to help take off the edge? No matter how cold the facts get out here, friend, in the coming days, please remember what your Mom told you about what you had to do if you wanted to get into Heaven, and make mine hot Cocoa thank you, not hate-filled Cuckoo.

The ’60s are portrayed as “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll”. This is not inaccurate as much as it is incomplete. I would add “Exploring, Questioning and Demanding Proof”. Faced by the prospect of being drafted into a war that seemed totally unjustified, which was being sold as a Modern Crusade, against both Militant Buddhism and Atheistic Communism, members of my g-g-g-generation needed to process, and act upon, each of these three oxymorons, of stupendous contradictory magnitude, simultaneously. Fortunately, we baby boomers had the help of psychedelics and other multi-dimensional lubrication or the stresses created could easily have sent the entire of us down the Rabbit Hole for good. Of course, we had Gracie Slick as our travel agent and Vietnam vet, Country Joe and the Fish, winding us up with the “I feel like I’m fixin’ to die rag”, so the luckiest among us never got lost in the maze or fooled by the cover story.

We expected that the realizations being experienced by nearly everyone, the appreciation of the importance of Civil rights and even more subtle questions like gender-equality and Women’s rights, would inevitably lead to more honest and equitable society. All forms of music were being listened to and combined within a single song or album as East met West and everybody shook their behinds in what felt like your own special way. Many will argue that the ideals revered in the ’60s, tolerance, peace, free expression and love of your fellow-creature, obscured the more serious issues like survival and crime, but the dramatic increase in political participation and activism was a sign of health and vitality in a largely self-satisfied society.

The sixties gave us a whole population unwilling to accept its prerogatives and privileges at the expense of their fellow-creature, who questioned every single verity and turned a lot of them into cartoons that gave them the status and perspective needed to understand them.