You can listen to the song on this You Tube Video:
The song made it debut in the 1967 musical hit "Hair" at a time when the war in Viet Nam was raging and American streets and neighborhoods were on fire fueled by both the opposition to the war and the continuing civil rights battles. It was a time when many longed for peace, but there were few signs that a new age of peace and understanding was actually dawning.
Fast forward to the present and the average American would say we're still pretty far removed from an age of peace, harmony and understanding. Wars are still being faught in Afghanistan and Iraq. The whole arab middle east is in turmoil throwing off military dictators but morn likely than not voluntarily shackling themselves to radical muslim clerics. Across the globe cities are racked with protests and streets are on fire from the acts of those who are disenchanted with modernity but whose goals are not well defined.
Sometimes it feels as if the whole world has gone mad and that chaos reigns. But amidst all the public protests and the wars that have exhausted even the most hawkish of Americans there is another side to the story. In the Houston Chronicle last week there was a report of a recent scientific study which found that the feeling we are surrounded by chaos and war and protest on every side is more the product of the 24/7 news television news machine than the product of anything real.
According to the study, all crime rates are down in the United States and throughout much of the world. Violent crimes are down particularly. And while wars are being faught in several places around the world, the study confirms that the world is more at peace than at any time in the past. While we hear much about crime and violence and wars in the never ending new cycles, crime and violence and wars are actually becoming less and less the reality.
Local statistics support the studies assertions. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States. The economy of the city is in bad shape as is the economy of the nation and the world. In such times crime usually rises but that is not happening. Crime rates are actually falling and violent crime rates are plummeting in Houston, but also in American cities where major crimes have long been a problem.
When I look around me, I see that even in today's economic catastrophe, most of my friends are not only working but doing well. That includes even my gay friends. Four of my gay friends who were living deep in the closet ten years ago are now living openly as partnered gay men. They have good jobs and their bosses don't give a damn that they are gay. Two of them are church members and attend services regularly in accepting congregations. Out of the four, all but one enjoys the support and love of their families.
On the national level the news is much the same for gays. The United States armed services has ended DADT over the last few weeks. In reality it was just the formal end to a program that had ceased to be of any consequence. My own son is career military and a commander. He has always told me he knows full well who the gay men and women are in his command, but he doesn't give a damn what they do on their own time as long as they do their job when they are on the job.
It seems that when one really looks at the world around us objectively, harmony and understanding are ascending. One might say the age of Aquarius has in fact arrived.
Here in the United States we are already well into the campaign for the 2012 Presidential election. There are certainly partisans on each side of the political equation, but those who are honest with themselves admit that the hope and change many voted for in 2008 has not worked out as well as might have been hoped.
In spite of that there are positives. If it proved nothing else, the 2008 Presidential elections proved that in a real sense America has entered a post racial era. If President Obama is not elected for a second term it will not be because he is black. It will be because he has failed at leadership. Indeed one of his leading opponents at this time is a man who is himself black, yet enjoying wide support among even the most conservative whites.
While political bickering from the extreme right and the extreme left is getting all the headline attention in the 24/7 news cycle the story not being told is that the average American as he has always been is a political moderate just right of center and expects the country to be governed not from either extreme but from the middle through compromise.
For the first time in the history of its existence, even the radical Christian Right is beginning to see members fall away and close their pocketbooks as people are finally getting fed up on their message of hate and bigotry. In particular, young people are coming to the realization that no organized religion at all in their lives is better than one which preaches hate and the promise of God's wrath.
Maybe, just maybe we truly are living in the Age of Aquarius. Where people are judged on their merits and not on their skin color or who they have sex with. Perhaps we are entering an era when those are religious are known more for who they love that what they hate. Let us hope.