BE SURE TO WEAR SOME FLOWERS IN YOUR HAIR
by James Strauss
Insanity comes in many different versions, manifestations and appearances. Scientists, doctors and social experts are all conflicted about what exactly it is, although there is a huge book that’s put out every few years called the DSM, laying out symptoms, potential causes and treatments for the condition. Some insanity is temporary, but most is not. Insanity is much easier to label once certain manifestations are observed or experienced, than figuring out how to define and understand what sanity is. The most unfortunate part of insanity is that most humans suffering from it either don’t know that they are insane or refuse to admit it. Ronald Reagan, when he was president, had advisors who figured out how to take advantage of this. Reagan was able to ‘save’ the country billions of dollar by changing the rules of the country’s social services systems to require that almost all mentally ill people must agree to receive treatment for their mental illness in order for the authorities to hold, institutionalize or treat them. When such permission is denied, as it usually is, then the insane person is released back into society to become an unknowing predatory on the rest of humanity. The politicians of Reagan’s time, probably more unknowingly than deliberately, released hundreds of thousands of mentally ill individuals to roam through the culture of America without treatment, or much in the way of supervision, and without any help other than what involved family members might provide.
Some extreme factions of certain religions, particularly Christian and Moslem, find homosexuality an abomination perpetrated by willing sinners upon the remainder of the population. In almost all cases, these extreme religious factions take a stand requiring either banishment, maiming or death to anyone accused of exhibiting homosexual behavior. The extreme faction leaders perpetrate such beliefs to enrich themselves and further empower their own social control positions. The dogma that these religious leaders use to found their heinous and ridiculously violent belief systems on don’t’ really exist, except in made up or mutilated quotes from badly translated scripture.
While insanity has moved from institutions out into the streets, coffee shops and nightclubs, extreme faith-based belief systems have promulgated more and more terroristic violence, and the spread of assault rifle ownership has become more pervasive than heart disease or cancer. Insane behavior, supported by poisonous dogma, armed with extremist weaponry, is becoming more and more prevalent and deadly.
Last week, in Orlando Florida, these draconian beliefs came together in a horrific example of what can happen when true insanity meets the legal possession of one of these combat assault weapons. Forty-nine young, innocent and joyful people visiting a gay night club were gunned down. Why bother to mention the potential sexual predilection of some of those visiting the club that night? Because that’s where extreme religious beliefs tend to reside. Anti-gay, anti-female, anti-black, brown, yellow or red. This time the supposed ‘motivation’ of the insane killer was faith-based anti-gay.
During the 1960’s, due to the Vietnam War’s raging on, the appearance of marijuana, and the invention of birth control pills, a movement was born that surmounted war, sought to quell hate and promoted love. Back then the members of this movement, wide and varied as they were, thought that a warm wonderful revolution of mutual human love could overcome the forces of darkness, selfishness and downright evil. ‘Make love not war’, was an expression used everywhere, and it had little to do with Vietnam itself. It was more a wish about the future of humanity and what it could become. Vietnam is now a major trading partner of the United States, marijuana is more pervasive than ever, and birth control has greatly reduced the threat of unwanted pregnancy.
The love part did not happen.
What did happen?
It was a common belief of the hippie generation that if you gave a war and nobody came, then there would be no war. It should have been a dire warning to this new generation of peace that the former generation was being called the greatest generation. After all, that great generation had won World War II. The second warning should have been the Korean War, the first war fought over societal structure rather than the crushing domination of one country over others. These warnings, unfortunately, were not heeded but ignored, thus paving the way for the quietly rebounding effort by the selfish, the dark and the evil to possess all the land masses on earth, and embroil hundreds of countries and thousands of cultures in never-ending wars all fought over man-made differences between cultures and social systems.
Today, “making war”, along with all it’s ancillary expenses, is the single largest industry on the planet. Preparing for war, maintaining war materials, staffing armies’ bases and ships, compensating injuries and deaths suffered, and rebuilding what bombings have laid waste to, is the largest percentage of almost every budget, of almost every culture still functioning in the world. Fully fifteen percent of the world’s gross domestic product is tied up in either going to war, preparing for war, or recovering from war. What happened to the peace movement, wherein war was to be replaced with love and common sense, and killing would be relegated to acts of insanity?
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair is a phrase lifted from a song. The lyrics were written in the sixties to describe visiting San Francisco, a city designated to be the exemplar of a place of peace and love. The tragedy played out at the Pulse nightclub in Florida is partially about the recognized, but ignored, insanity of one member of one culture. Its significance runs much deeper, however. Today mass media’s willingness to broadcast the most bizarre of religious extremism, the government’s refusal to spend money on treating and caring for the truly unwell and insane, the unwillingness of conservative elected officials to reign in ownership of combat assault weaponry, and the public’s tacit approval of gross selfishness and evil, are all complicit in that tragedy. As with the other recent gun-related civilian massacres, this awful event will not be directly dealt with until the public can come back to what the hippie generation of love was onto. Except for one critical difference. There is a war, and it must be acknowledged that it is a never-ending one. It’s a war between the kind, compassionate and caring against fellow humans who never had those traits, or lost them along the way. It’s a war against sociopathy, and it’s been going on since humanity first walked the earth. The foundations of every religion were created because of this war, and their multitudinous roots all sprout the same message. Life is all about compassion, kindness and care toward everyone and everything, and the intrinsic importance of this interconnectedness has become even more pronounced since human kind developed the ability to control the planet. The basic tenants of every religion must overcome the media’s deifying of sensationalism.
The writings of founding fathers and mothers must be brought back to the forefront of the human condition. The music, art, architecture and philosophy of life must be thrust out in front of selfish motivations to combat the blind sociopathic behavior of so many. Go on out there today, embracing such thoughts, and be sure to ‘wear some flowers in your hair’. Don’t wear them because of what happened to all those young people in Florida. Wear them because of what they were doing and what they were experiencing while doing it. We must all grieve for those lost to the war, while smiling upward with joy at the exhilaration of demonstrating love, compassion and hope. Go out there this day and ‘wear some flowers in your hair.’
~ James Strauss