Counterculture

Counterculture: (n) the culture and lifestyle of those people who reject or oppose the dominant values and behavior of society.

Take any thirty years.

Yes—look back in your history book and isolate off a thirty year period and you will realize that every group of people who was deemed to be “counterculture” was ignored for ten years, rejected for the next ten, but by the third decade had gained position, if not predominance.

It also holds true for our common values. Case in point:

Divorce used to be never spoken of—ignored, if you will. Then for a while it was rejected as unacceptable. And now, it’s not only a part of our society, but it is generally assumed that any human being over the age of thirty-five has divorced at least once.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

An obvious example is the gay community, which was at first ignored, then heavily rejected, and now appears deeply rooted in the fabric of our culture.

Yet there are two outstanding exceptions to this theory—black people and women.

Our American citizens who happen to have black skin seem to have stalled somewhere between rejection and inclusion.

And women continue to be bandied about as sexual objects instead of living, breathing sisters in our fight for sanity.

’Tis perplexing. It certainly gives some food for thought.

For when I was a young man, the war in Vietnam was a symbol of courage and American will to fight communism. Enter the counterculture of anti-war. Now, the Indochina conflict is basically a very dark joke.

I, for one, am going to be very careful to reject to anything as counterculture—because even the faith I hold dear, which proudly meets in churches every Sunday, was once condemned to be a counterculture, secretly fellowshipping in the tombs.


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Continent

Continent: (n) one of the main landmasses of the globe, usually reckoned as seven in number

It is 25,000 miles around the Earth.

I suppose if you are accustomed to driving four blocks to the grocery store that number seems outrageously large. But when you’re thinking about a home space for nearly eight billion people, that 25,000-mile number suddenly appears limited, if not confining.

Living space within that circumference is seven continents, if you’re willing to let Antarctica slip-slide its way in. Since even polar bears and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
penguins are reluctant to occupy that particular Southern apartment, we’re down to six living areas.

It’s not that much.

It becomes almost comical, and then, if pursued too far, dangerous to eyeball one another as foreigners when we are such closely knit next-door-neighbors.

For instance, Africa can be considered a continent, a home for black people, or one of the six pieces of turf available. Perhaps this is why we’ve become so turfy.

There’s Europe and Asia, which have little evidence of a boundary, but continue as one whopping, huge space, peppered with cultures, when really, we’re all intended to just be the salt of the Earth.

South America is also filled with Americans, even though North America, and especially the United States, insists on claiming the title.

Australia, a country, boasts being a continent, and because they are so willing to share their “shrimp on the barbie,” we see no reason to argue with the congenial folk.

We are all within 25,000 miles of one another—when it’s 238,900 miles to the moon and ninety million to the sun.

And that is all within our solar system—when we exist in a universe that scoffs at being considered a mere billion galaxies.

Perspective.

Since the water is winning the war for Earth, as land becomes a little less every year, maybe it’s time for us to work on “neighborly” instead of weapons.


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Blown

Blown: (adj) past participle of blow

Dictionary BYou can’t make a duck bark. It’s a simple statement.

Therefore, it’s virtually impossible to get your dog to quack.

Patterns of behavior are established through choice and genetics, and maintained by stubborn tradition.

So as I listen to people complain about leaders who are causing turmoil and steering the American public into bad decisions, I look on, perplexed.

  • Nobody can make me prejudiced.
  • Nobody can turn me into a bigot.
  • Nobody can suddenly convince me that black people are evil or that people from China are out to get me.

I am the one who is ready to hear the nonsense.

So therefore, it is the responsibility of our citizens to own up to the fact that the transitions which have occurred in our lifetime, which have promoted truth or at least tolerance, have been avoided by many, who have sat by, pretending to be part of the parade, only to whisper complaints to each other as the floats go by.

There is a disgruntled spirit in our country which is blown by every ill wind.

It is unconfronted.

It is denied–as we pretend that everything is alright.

It isn’t.

We are still one of the most bigoted countries in the world, intolerant of the behavior of each other, and willing to become violent if someone takes our parking space.

I don’t think we will change these attitudes by hatching meanness to address the meanness.

But as long as people are blown by every wind of doctrine and every carnival barker, we will suffer under a cloud of uncertainty.

 

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Bashful

Bashful: (adj) reluctant to draw attention to oneself; shyDictionary B

My Aunt Marjorie was the mistress of left-handed compliments.

Some of my favorites:

“Well, that little boy certainly has a lot of energy.”

Translation: “Can’t you keep your damn brat under control?”

“Your casserole is nice and salty.”

Translation: “I will not eat it for fear of kidney failure.”

“Those black people sure can jump.”

Translation: “Must be because they’re really not people.”

And of course, the one I heard over and over again. She would look me in the eye and say, “Well, you’re sure not bashful.”

Translation? “Sit down, shut up and let somebody else suck up some air in the room.”

Likewise, I have often asked children to tell me their names, had them hide behind their Mama’s skirt, as Mother proclaimed, “Oh, they’re just bashful.”

Shall we get something completely straight? All human beings are terrified–and if they aren’t, they’re probably mentally ill.

The prospect of being placed in the spotlight is not warming, but causes us to break out in a sweat.

And knowing that we’re responsible for our actions is enough to make us permanently inactive.

Bashful is not an emotional choice or a personality type–it’s an unfortunate profile that we occasionally find ourselves stuck behind because we do not feel prepared to function in the present situation.

Even though we insist that some people are introverts, we live in an extroverted world, where the squirrels who are too timid to hunt for nuts go nuts–as they starve to death.

Bashful is not a curse I would place upon anyone–it is the fear which forbids us from finding out exactly how far we can actually go.

 

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Baboon

Baboon: (n) a large monkey with a long doglike snout and large teeth.Dictionary B

  • Science is what we’ve learned about God,
  • Spirituality is what science has yet to learn.

So when Darwin discovered a chain of events leading to an understanding of natural selection and evolution, rather than realizing it was a step in our understanding of the rolling out of the Universe, we made the ridiculous assumption that we had dislodged the pearl of great price.

Meanwhile, Darwin’s theory has been used by racists and white supremacists for years to explain the existence of the black race. For these people contend that our brothers and sisters with a darker hue to their skin are the Missing Link.

So in the midst of this consideration that the baboon and all the primate cousins are really our ancestors, we have arrogantly opened up the door to suppositions and conclusions which have never been proven to have any merit.

Here’s the truth of the matter: the human body is a mishmash of many species of animals.

It’s almost as if some sort of Creator went to the graveyard of the animal kingdom and scooped up the dust left over from their bodies and made human beings, setting them apart with a larger brain and a deeper sense of conscience.

Just because we find the poetry of the story to be too simplistic, the idea that we have closed the book on evolution/creation by studying Darwin’s assertions, is equally as juvenile.

  • We have learned much about God. It is called Science.
  • We have much more Science to learn. It is called God.

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Arab

dictionary with letter A

Arab: (adj) of or relating to Arabia or the people of Arabia

I grew up in Ohio.

My formative years were spent in a small village in the Buckeye Nation, surrounded by bigoted people.

They did not like black people–not because of proximity or personal contact. It was simply a tradition that had been passed down from one generation to another, and even though some of their ancestors fought to free the slaves, they didn’t especially want these “freed men” to live in the same neighborhood.

I was surrounded by intolerance. My family would probably argue the point, but only because we love to rewrite history once it’s been corrected.

But truthfully, the average person living in Central Ohio in 1965 believed many erroneous things about “colored folk,” including that they smelled differently, they were less intelligent, and they certainly should not date sons, let alone daughters.

Here’s an interesting fact: that isn’t true today.

The reason it isn’t true is that gradually the minority of the people who were more loving and giving wore down the intolerant, or else they buried them in the cemetery or changed their minds.

But as long as we believed that there were more “good Buckeyes” who were color blind than “bad Buckeyes” who were not, no progress was made.

The same thing is true for the Arabs.

They are experiencing a very strong backlash to extreme fundamentalism in the religion that they hold dear.

Here’s a fact: until the good ones who love people outlast and eventually outnumber the ones who don’t, and take the words of their holy book and punctuate the verses that are more inclusive, they will be characterized, universally, as dangerous.

There’s no way around it. If my close neighbor who shares my mosque flies airplanes into buildings, I become a suspect.

In my community of 1,500 people, having 60 folks who were open to having black people living in the town was not sufficient to warrant referring to our citizens as open-minded.

Truth had to win out.

So here’s the conclusion, and I speak this joyfully and hopefully to my Arab brothers and sisters:

Wear down your bigots and outnumber them.

It’s the only way to regain the beauty of your cause and an acceptance of your true mission.

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Already

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Already: (adv.) before or by now or the time in question: e.g. Anna has suffered a great deal already

It’s a bratty word.

Oh, I’m sure you could convince me that the term can be uttered without exuding exasperation. But every time I hear the word “already,” somebody is complaining about being surprised, caught off guard or ill-prepared to make a transition.

Just think about the things that have been suggested in our country, with the response from the populace being, “Already?”

  • Black people should be treated like human beings. Already?
  • Women should be given the right to vote. Already?
  • Students should have a council in school to voice their opinions. Already?
  • Baseball should be integrated. Already?
  • Women should make the same amount of money as men in the marketplace. Already?
  • Gay people should have rights. Already
  • We should put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Already?

Remember this–bad people are bigots; good people are procrastinators. The only difference is a timetable. Bad people will continue to blow things up even when society has adopted the concept. Good people are reluctant to accept reform, drag their feet, and then later insist “they were behind it the whole time.”

Here’s what I’ve learned: by the time an idea is able to be aired, it probably should be considered. Whether I am comfortable with it or not will not change its importance.

“Already” is a way to slow things down so we can feel that we control everything around us,instead of accepting our role as participants in growing toward more understanding … even though we don’t always understand.