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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Sharen Jergenson: Let the sunshine in!

  • "Hair" is as meaningful today as during any Astrological and Great Age changes on Earth.
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  •    Set in the turbulent youth and anti-war movement that arose during the mid-1960s, “Hair” is yet today an exuberant musical shoo-in. “I don’t want to die for my country!  I want to live for my country!”  Anyone in the audience at the Robinson Center on February 18, 2014 should have felt a jolt from that line no matter what direction their evolution of consciousness has taken them. It is as meaningful today as during any Astrological and Great Age changes on Earth. Changes that can cause turmoil while adopting new evolving values. The stage rocked with “The Age of Aquarius.” While drums beat to the rhythm, the tribe mystically called forth its visions of “harmony and understanding.”  But, passion to fight for some ideals that existed fifty years ago has been dampened if not forgotten. It appeared that many in  the audience were just not in the groove to appreciate and reflect upon the turmoil felt and lived by many during the 1960s. The hippie counterculture and sexual revolution with the anti-Vietnam War peace movement tells of a “tribe” of politically active, long-haired hippies living in New York City and fighting against being drafted into the Vietnam War. Also known as “Flower Children,” they wore and distributed flowers to symbolize their ideals of peace and love.Their innocence lived on the threshold of a world that held much confusion for them. Many survived in a state of existence where sensations became too faint to experience: Death and war, revelation, accountability, adulthood. They believed theirs was the purest of existence and they fought for it. With protests, they burned draft cards, flags, and exhibited  their freedom and own style to love. Others fled to Canada to avoid the draft. Many let their hair grow until they looked like “a hairy caterpillar.”  Presumption would say that the pro-love, pro-drugs, anti-establishment tribe was offensive for many audience members. Songs such as, “I Got Life” is a proud and defiant theme of which they explicitly celebrate their bodies. Scantily clad actors and their interpretation of how important love was for surviving the era caused squirming in many seats. While the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical was written to allow many venues the freedom of nudity, this traveling Broadway production had been  tamed down for Bible Belt audiences. Many must have still felt a Bible Belt law had been broken. Maybe it was the loincloth. Whatever their reason, about  20% of the audience left by intermission without returning to their seats. Guess those of us that stayed to reap benefit of our tickets will have to answer to God and the Bible Belt.  But, how does  basic artistic expression cause such gnawing of teeth? (Could these be the same teeth found in mouths of conservatives that so willingly speak out on issues involving a female’s  body?) While nudity is often not a pretty site, are there no skinny-dippers in the South? Even in the Book of Genesis, God created Adam and Eve and left them buck naked in the Garden of Eden. That is, until they took a fancy to fashion the fig leaf. A conception of ideals will continue to exist even when the continued relevancy of the sixties is a bit dismaying. These  issues have had a long-lasting hold on our society. It’s something we need to remember  even when there are those who refuse to “Let The Sunshine In.”  
    Page 2 of 2 -     While post-Vietnam War, and post-how many other international conflicts have been experienced, other battle grounds exist in our own back yards. Freedom or oppression?  Arizona’s attempted SB1062 bill showed that some political ambitions just simply ring the dumb-dumb bell. A shield for all citizens’ religious liberties? Really? The social conservative group opposing abortion and same-sex marriage apparently thought the U.S. Constitution missed writing something into the Bill of Rights.  Out of their own religious insecurities they seized upon a means that any contact with a gay couple would be a burden on their beliefs.  Did Jesus pick and choose? He reached out into the fringes of society.  A loving, spiritual relationship with God gives one confidence to propose tolerance. Not oppose it!  No wonder a disenchantment of religion grows. Proclaiming to be protecting Christian beliefs, conservatives have gotten snared into giving full attention to the “speck of sawdust in their brother’s eye and pay no mind to the plank in their own.” They should cleanse their eyes and step into a reflecting pool where they could bare themselves to their own reflection. And maybe,  just maybe, they could alter their fearful ideologies to  “Let The Sunshine In.”  And, that’s my opinion . . . . 
     
     
    (Sharen Jergenson of Heber Springs writes her “And that’s my opinion column... “ for The Sun-Times monthly)

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