Tranquility on the fritz

I’m positive the concept of peace and love as a lifestyle theory has been around for quite some time, certainly well before The Sixties. And yet, the phrase has long since become super-glued to that particular era. The words “peace and love” are mostly used these days to conjure up images of pie-eyed people twirling in twinkly ballrooms and then heading home to hump in their crab-infested crash pads.

I grew up in Fresno, about 150 miles from San Francisco. So as a kid going to high school from ’69 to ’71, I was well within range of the extremely powerful cultural shock wave that poured out of the psychedelically pseismic pcity at that time, pshock waves that carried a pswagger about them that were utterly pseductive and ultimately psuccessful in insinuating themselves into many a personal philosophy. (Psorry.) This righteous and self-congratulatory swagger stemmed from a pervasive attitude that insisted all this stuff you’re hearing and seeing, it’s all for real, man, and how exactly are you gonna deal with it?

One of those concepts a hungry young mind had to deal with, for all of 10 to 15 seconds, was that of “peace and love.” A vital plank in the overall ethos of the New Utopians, it was a simple concept that held that war was not just obsolete, but unacceptable. It was supposed that the guiding light of Peace and Love would quickly become instilled among all the nations of Earth, just as soon as their leaders were dosed with high-quality LSD. Looking back now, it all seems like such a Philip K. Dick short story …

So as a teen-ager and young man, I actually had hopes that I would live long enough to see an era of Peace and Love somehow take a stand, in some significant way, on Earth. Wotta riot! I now look back on that time and remember two things: (1) My hairdo was at an all-time worst, and (2) I forget.

Now, I am balding, golfing, thickening, slowing and generally olding, and it’s finally time to tweak that long-held expectation of the eventual emergence of Peace and Love. The more one looks objectively at the overall state of international relations, the more one can’t help but notice that Peace and Love are getting their precious little asses kicked on a monthly basis.

It’s pretty clear that ole P&L are not big hitters on humanity’s list of things to do. That list, sitting under the happy-face magnet on humanity’s refrigerator, is more likely these days to read “(1) Get money, (2) Get nukes, (3) Get sex, (4) Take nap, (5) Download pictures of hot beefcake and bimbos, (6) Laugh at proponents of Peace and Love.”

Peace and Love, a political stance that now appears to have been a little bit ahead of our overall behavioral curve. I’d guess P&L fans should check back in about 50 years to see where we are.