27 June 2009

The US Constitution & the New Counterculture

Depending on your sources and research, the term "counterculture" can take on different meanings. Counterculture broken down into the Latin root words occorro (oppose, work against) humanitas (culture, refinement). The Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines counterculture as "a culture with values and mores that run counter to those of established society." The terminology made it's dictionary-debut in 1968. Inevitably, with that date images of Woodstock and anti-war protestors come to mind. Wikipedia defines it as "a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter (or as an alternative) to those of the mainstream society; the cultural equivalent of political opposition. It is a neologism attributed to Theodore Roszak, author of the book The Making of a Counter Culture. When the book was published, it brought about a collective conscience of people who became motivated to protest the Vietnam war after the Civil Rights Movement began to take hold in society through legitimate reform.

Countercultural undercurrents have existed in many societies through the ages simply because human nature drives us to define what is "normal," Being human, we compare "normal" to what seems odd and abnormal and to those who stick out and draw attention. The term "counter culture" when it refers to a largely visible phenomenon that reaches a moment of truth and then persists becomes itself a movement that "expresses the ethos, aspirations, and dreams of a specific population during an era — a social manifestation of zeitgeist." The life form the counter culture ultimately takes on becomes revolution (from the Latin revolutio, meaning "a turn-around") when oppression en mass is no longer tolerated.

I have been riveted and heartbroken by what is happening in Iran, clearly a countercultural movement by people wanting freedom after decades of oppression in one form or another. The dissenting voices didn't happen overnight. So an enormous majority rose up, counter to the mainstream, to state their case. An optimistic, if not premature, name has even been given already to the freedom-seekers. A movement appeared among the incessant violence on the masses of Iranian protesters in that country, and they name it The Green Revolution. While I am hopeful and prayerful for them for an outcome that gives freedom, it is clearly too early to tell what the Green Revolution's outcome will be. But now named, the counterculture has permanence.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is a growing new counterculture movement right here in the United States. The United States Federal Government in recent months has taken almost unprecedented over-reaching powers. The Contstitutional violations are so frequent and insideous that trying to digest it all is overwhelming at times. American Conservatives have literally started to feel like they are in the battle of their lives in attempting to restore Constitutional integrity to this country. Case in point: The recent passing of the Waxman-Markey "Cap & Trade" legislation by the House of Representatives. Some of us spent days and days alerting people to call their representatives, encourage a "NO" vote, and then calling representatives ourselves (even ones NOT our own!) on the most massive piece of legislation in history. After it passed by a narrow margin by clearly misguided and mislabeled (RINOS) Republicans, I know I felt exhausted.

There is an broadening warlike sentiment happening in this country, felt largely by conservatives, but increasingly by liberals too. Ideological battles are being fought against a government that largely ignores us and/or does not represent us as it should. This government has on its side a "mainstream" media as a mouthpiece for its policies, policies it assumes are not opposed in a majority consensus. The government treats their perceived majority population as and agreeable mainstream as well. They think we either agree don't care (or they think we are stupid). But a large number of us are not this agreeable mainstream.For now our only visible collective outlet has been the Tea Partiesthat have been happening around the country. But the growing chatter on Facebook and Twitter, among many other social networks, is getting louder.Grassroots organizations are growing exponentially as individuals are nearing their own personal tipping point, if they haven't already. We all together are headed for that "moment of truth." People are waking up: the "social manifestation" is happening. The so-called "Silent Majority" who want to live their lives based on a Constitution that put limits on their federal government are not so silent anymore. We are now running "counter to those of the mainstream society." We have silently become The New Counterculture.

What name will we give our revolution?


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