All the signs point to the conclusion that I live in the past. Peace signs and Grateful Dead stickers decorate my car’s bumper, the smell of incense permeates everything I own, and Bob Dylan’s protest songs fill my iPod. My friends are always calling me a “hippie” and telling me I was born in the wrong decade, that somehow my time line got tangled, but I disagree. The reason I dress the way I do and listen to the music I do is because I am fascinated with what the hippie culture stood for and still stands for today: having opinions and taking a stand. However, I refuse to wish myself back to that era because I have faith in my generation.
I have faith in my generation, even though I worry about our fate. Our most important issue is our need to have a global awareness. The traps of triviality pose a serious threat as we live in a world packed with distractions: grades, jobs, the latest episode of “Lost.” Who has time to watch CNN or read a newspaper, and who has time to react to what they learn?
The reason for the apathy attributed to our generation is not a lack of compassion or guts but a lack of knowledge. We are taught about the Holocaust; we are supposed to learn from history’s mistakes so we are not “condemned to repeat them.” However, we are not taught about the genocides of today. How are we supposed to be outraged and take action against something we are unaware of? The microcosm of our culture and everyday routine threatens to blind us to the greater concerns of the world and our obligation to improve it.
But I have faith in my generation because when we are aware, we take action. I have witnessed proof at my high school. A group of my friends and I founded a school club to bring attention to the current genocide in Darfur. We wore our “Save Darfur” T-shirts, organized fundraisers, and tried to bring awareness to the crisis. In the early days of the club, people would ask us “Who’s Darfur?” However, after we put on a demonstration at lunch, the message spread and soon the bright yellow “Save Darfur” T-shirt became a fashion must-have.
Although I may be wearing a tie-dye shirt and listening to Janis Joplin as I write these words, I am glad to be living today, for I have faith that my generation will make tomorrow better than even the hippies could have dreamed.