Back in the sixties and seventies, my friends and I were activists. Granted, we did too many drugs and went on strange cleansing rituals. We had lots of sex didn’t take precautions, but we were there for each other. We always had a place to be on Saturday night as we welcomed friends to our homes and made sure everyone was okay.

There were divisions between the Establishment and free thinking hippies who were breaking free of convention. But we were ready to stand up for what we believed and we were capable of anger-free debates. We listened to each other and cared what the other person had to say. We weren’t always in synch, but we didn’t go on shooting sprees in schools. We didn’t physically attack each other with the exception of frightened, angry cops. Instead, we were as gentle and loving as we could manage. We wanted to achieve peace in the world without rage and violence

Back then, our heroes were Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Our teachers were John Lily and Timothy Leary. Our philosophers were Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. We staged peaceful rock concerts for the masses and we danced and sang with each other. We recognized our divisions but we tried to share our ideas in a peaceful way. We thought not only of ourselves; we considered the feelings of others as we held onto our vision of a loving world. We were dedicated to doing our part and we got out in the streets and exercised our right to free speech. In that way, we didchange the world for the better as we tried our best to be inclusive and compassionate.

But this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. I’ve found myself in groups of people lately who would rather voice their anger and complaints than try to understand each other. People who didn’t bother to vote feel righteous and entitled to hoist their opinions on others. There are screaming debates about right and wrong. People are shunned who believe differently than we do. The plight of the less fortunate has become less important than taking selfies and amassing huge numbers of followers on social media. It’s all about “me, me, me” with very little “you.” Its appears that people would rather throw insults and blame on each other than try to figure out how we can all get along. My hope is with the kids in Florida who are standing up peacefully and protesting for what is right.

My point here is that if you’re unhappy, put down your phone and do something. Stop the hatred and isolation and let’s put our heads together to solve our problems. We need to remember our vision of a peaceful world. It won’t just come. It will take participation and listening if we want things to change. Remember the sixties if you were there. If not, do some research and learn from the philosophies and actions that we took back then. If you know what to do, get out there and do it. If you don’t know what to do, start by being kind to the people around you. It’s that simple. But please don’t sit around complaining and blaming everyone else. If you’re not willing to take action and back up your beliefs, if you’re not willing to get off the pot and do something, stop talking, fighting, and pointing a finger at everyone else. Taking any kind of helpful action is key. We have to do something to make a change. But in order to change the status quo, it’s not only what we do that matters the most. Rather it’s also what we don’t do that makes a world of difference.