Speaking out — Bill Pardy
If one could look at time through a wide angle-lens the visible parallels between this period and that of the 1930s would be startling. In fact, analysis of economic charts shows almost a mirror image of the economy now and then. An analysis of political activity might be very similar.
Economic disparity and political polarization is causing, in current jargon, “a perfect storm.”
Civil unrest is rampant, spreading and causing mass protests, which are toppling governments across the world. Ukraine and Venezuela are but the latest.
Similar protest movements in developed countries, like the Occupy Movement, were quickly stifled by those in power. Perhaps, the pain is not as great in these countries, or the power over people is more subtle.
One thing to note in all these movements, without exception, is that they are mainly led by young people, as their youthful dreams appear in danger of being extinguished.
Those with wealth and power wish to dampen or stymie this youthful idealism and their aspirations for a better future. They see it as a threat to their own comfort and position.
Historically, such generational clashes has contributed to or caused massive change.
Youth today have an unprecedented advantage over other generations. They have better education, more awareness and access to technology that opens such causes to the whole world. It is now much harder to hide abuse and suppression.
Much has been written about a shift by humanity into an age of enlightenment. Most of it is written by those older, perhaps in hope of their own understanding before they pass from this world.
Unfortunately, for most of this older generation, enlightenment has arrived too late — if at all.
It is always the vision and spirit of youth that ushers in the new dawn. They have a less clouded view of the world and a much different perspective and desire for a new world order with respect for all and shared responsibilities and more equal benefits.
This view of the world is always feared by those with most to lose. These mainly old and grey or balding men who control most of the wealth and power are not about to share it with anyone.
Most of the rest of the older generation, who in an effort to protect their own personal comfort, are but idle spectators to the struggle that pits the young against those who wish to control and disempower.
In order to have fairer sharing, something has to be relinquished by those who have ... even if it has to be taken from them.
Historically, who has paid the heaviest price for the suppression of protest and the ensuing conflicts and wars that evolve? It is always the youth, not the wealthy, the powerful nor those older who are usually exempted from active service.
The tragedy of all conflicts and wars results in the decimation of youth, along with their dreams and their lives. Those not killed are traumatized for the rest of their lives because of what they had to endure.
We only have to examine the statistics of the wars of the last centuries and visit the war cemeteries throughout the world and look at the ages on the headstones or markers.
There is a reality to all generational struggles. Youth have the advantage, in that they have time and the benefit of numbers, especially in the poorer areas of the world.
Youth have an energy, which if harnessed and supported properly, will bring a new radiance into human society. If it is suppressed it will simmer, boil and eventually explode often causing untold harm for themselves and the societies in which they live.
The challenge for those older is to relinquish at least some of their comforts. They need to use whatever insights and wisdom that they have accrued through their own experiences to support, guide and influence the ambitions of youth.
In the time it takes to neuter the exuberance of one young generation, another will have arrived with their own idealism and energy to again challenge the will of those older. It is the way life was designed. The process is natural and is the foundation and basis of the human spirit that is rekindled with the arrival of each new generation.
The energy of youth is not meant to be controlled nor repressed. It is provided in life to shift the outmoded and stagnant energy that accumulates over time. It is the same as in nature where the wind, rain and storms blow away the debris that gathers naturally.
It must be remembered that we can shatter youthful dreams and stymie their desires, even kill them.
But there is no one person, no organization nor any government that can ever suppress forever the power of the human spirit and the dreams, idealism and exuberance of youth. Many have tried.
The old may search for the “fountain of youth.” The young have no need, for they are the fountain of life and the future of human existence. They need to be nurtured, cherished and protected, not suppressed and sacrificed for the benefit of the few.
Bill Pardy lives part of the time in Corner Brook and is a member of The Western Star’s Community Editorial Board.