TV/Radio host, producer, writer, speaker & educator
After five years writing, I’ve decided to toss this story to the wind, as a community impact project and invite the public to write the story, the new story for all future generations to understand the undermining of our democracy and global health by billionaires, greed, control and domination.
I have been privileged in life to experience the richness of writers’ workshops with two of my favorite writers/teachers Tom Centolella and Tamim Ansary, learning the power of that which is incomplete as a means to be empowered to make complete.
In that spirit, I invite you to read this raw and rough story to offer your ideas, your corrections and your spirit to drive a healing narrative and ensure those who have exploited the people, our land and our water are forever remembered as a means to warn all future generations about our time today. And to demonstrate our power today, as the artists, that all eyes are watching them now and by all future generations.
Available on Amazon. Feel free to email me or contact me with your corrections, additions, ideas and anything else you would like to add.
Oxygen, the new gold, is the powerful commodity the tech corporate elite use to control and dominate the people, post a global economic and government collapse. Two societies have emerged, one of extreme patriarchy, ruled by surveillance and city lockdown methods, and a matriarch society hidden underground in the restricted Wildlands, who are loyal to the spirit and natural world. The leaders of each society were once married and united by love. Is it power or hate that caused the divide? Their daughter, Patricia, must find a way to reconcile their differences to bring both societies together for balance before ultimate death, including her own.
This story serves as an experimental community impact project, a story that can expand into a larger collective narrative as a warning to modern day global powers. Despite the fact “we, the people” may feel powerless today, this project aims to deliver a message to those who abuse power that “we, the people” do have power to tell their stories for all future generations. The author invites you to contribute your ideas and comments to this story to build a large, impactful narrative to ensure today’s global elite understand the power of “we, the people.”
About the Author: Barbara McVeigh is a community impact artist and writer. She’s the mother of two children and lives in Northern California. Her father stood up to the President of The United States in the historic national union strike of 1981 for political honesty when she was thirteen years old. It provided her the ultimate education – “question everything and never give up your dreams.” Her memoir is called Redemption, How Ronald Reagan Nearly Ruined My Life. Her documentary films explore ocean conservation, art and music. www.barbaramcveigh.com
“Save lives,” is the mantra we live by today. We have started to walk a psychological path these last months that ignore the greatest gift in life and that is the certain path toward death.
I’ve never looked at death with fear. Perhaps it’s due to my father when one day when I was a child we sat together watching a film about a Native American chief preparing for his own death. He felt his time had come and set himself into a small boat and out to sea. Except death didn’t come and he laid there wide eyed wondering why he was still alive after making all his sacred preparations, thinking he had planned it all so carefully. It took him time to decide to get out of that boat and back to life, realizing he had things to do. It wasn’t time for death and he had to humbly acknowledge that the universe was far bigger than him, a mere human being. “That’s how I want to die,” my father said. “I plan to be noble about it.” I decided I wanted to die that way too.
It’s one of the two greatest transitions of our “earth walk,” as some call it. Birth and death, two bookends that give us the most beautiful, challenging gift one could have, including the lessons one gains. First, with birth, the dreams emerge of what and who you want to be. As the clock ticks toward death, you have to look at who you have been with the lingering forever question, who was I and what was it all about? And, others will ask that same question about you for context and meaning in their own lives.
As I look around me during this “pandemic” time, I see the fear in eyes, especially the elderly, and the denial that death is part of life. If you’ve lived a long life, that is to be celebrated and respected. Shouldn’t you be grateful for a long life? Or, is there more to the story? I think so. Our society is about to experience the greatest death rate these next two decades of one of the largest populations in our world – the baby boomers at a time we do not value the sacredness of death. By acknowledging death and honoring it, such gives you the absolute love for life. We seem to have a society that believes they are impervious to that final act, as we know it. And hide in fear. Yet, we are set now to embark on one of the greatest cultural shifts in the history of the world spiritually, environmentally and culturally as death narratives confront us all, including the narrative of a baby boomer culture that has dominated us for over sixty years.
The baby boomers have had the limelight since the 1960s as their music, ideas and arts dominated our American culture. They rebelled against their parents, those who had been from a generation enduring the depression and World War Two. Their music screamed for freedom, world peace while they smoked joints and got high on LSD, again shunning the conventional world of their parents. They screamed against racism (rightfully so) and one generation of youth united like no other. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood tall with exceptional support boldly stating “I have a dream speech” about equality, Woodstock was a sea of screaming and dancing youth demanding a better world, as they also raged against the Vietnam War.
My own mother was a Navy wife and young mother during this time. Living on the naval base in San Diego, she was frightened about leaving the base anytime as many would harass her about the Vietnam War. My father was not in that war, but was aboard Navy ships, leaving her on her own during her very vulnerable years. My mother is about the most saint like person you could possibly meet. And I think how the hippies tormented her and I have to wonder whether I’ve actually been told the story straight – was the 60s revolution really all that great? Or was it a time of absolute disrespect toward elders, a time of bullying and shaming?
I’ve heard more stories over these last years that counter the positive narratives that have set my lifetime thinking about the greatness of the 60s Era. One was a story from a retired San Francisco cop who told me there were many directionless kids on the streets, those getting drugged up and were simply lost. There was great violence too. And the kids were only interested in screaming what was wrong. “They were hard years”, he told me.
You have to imagine what this is like for an individual like me who has lived in the shadow of all these stories about the greatness of the 60s. How my generation didn’t measure up to the same level. How my generation needs to be thankful for the work they did for us all. I was born in 1968, so I didn’t experience it. And as a lover of music, I believed all those great Summer of Love stories, believing they were epic times. And I always believed they were the greatest.
The horror is exceptional when a narrative you’ve been told and believed literally erupts and shows its ugly lies right in your face . . . you realize your stupidity for indulging in the illusion you were told to believe. You berate yourself for being so vulnerable and not thinking for yourself. And, this kills me to say, that Reagan was right about one thing, at least. He said the hippies are a bunch of spoiled brats.
The Sixties Era passed and then came the 1980s. The kids became adults and started to lead our country. And, what happened? For forty years, our country endured the most greed oriented, narcissistic era in the world history. The Reagan/Trump era began, two bookends that help us see a time period of consumer appetites that have driven our world to ruin. Like a bulldozing operation, their generation moved through the years taking just about anything without a regard for future generations. A generation who took MLK’s dream speech and grossly converted that narrative into the “American dream” of having a big house, a big car and power. . . I have to continue to think back to Reagan (and this kills me again) when he said “These are a bunch of spoiled brats.” Trump merely has exposed the dark side of these last 40 years, an age when unyielded bullying, shaming complaining, exploiting and greed have dominated and ruled the game. Trump is of the boomer generation. He has exposed the reality of a generation who still has their head in the 60s narrative. They just don’t want to admit it.
Today we are dealing with unbelievable levels of horrific trauma to our land, air and water as well as to our own bodies, health and mind . . when we KNEW better. From the books of Rachel Carson, the work of Alex Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Jane Goodall and even the visionary President Jimmy Carter who tried to set culture and policy to stop climate change and has lived a life of integrity without the pursuit of fame and fortune – there are ZERO excuses for Boomer generations. Today the boomer generation are senior citizens who somehow have twisted a new narrative to one that brings them sympathy . . . that we need to take care of them and completely eliminate the question “what happened?”
Perhaps it’s time the Baby Boomer generation gets a taste of their own medicine, so to speak and gain empathy for how their parents felt when they were rejected by a growing band of angry youth. They can feel the shame of what those Vietnam Veterans felt like when they were terrorized by hippies. Perhaps it’s time for a good dose of reality. And don’t hate me for calling out accountability. Stand for accountability.
There comes a time we need to shift and put all our energy into our children’s lives. For a generation who KNEW better, a generation who stood up and gave us all these stories about themselves as these incredible radicals who pushed world peace, I’m also calling them out on the greatest blaming, shaming, exploitative spoiled brat generation that could ever be delivered. I hold them accountable for the disaster we face today, including melting polar ice caps, ocean acidification, out of control consumerism, the billionaire class, the working poor and exploitative labor, as well as 40 years of wars to fund their lifestyles.
There comes a time you have to look at yourself and ask “Who am I?” This is the time. And consider it a favor.
The good news is this. The baby boomers rose once. Can they do it again?
I was honored and humbled to join this amazing team of artists from India who collaborated to make a film during lockdown about the beauty and power of nature. This project will be discussed on Marin TV, as part of a five part series on the arts and filmmaking in India with highly celebrated and notable literary and film figures of India and beyond, such as Keyuri Shaw, Dr. Avnish Rajvanshi and more. This film project has been accepted to the Lift-Off Film Festival and has been discussed on the New Delhi Community Radio Federation this past weekend, which I was honored to join.
Here is the film!
We have an opportunity to step into a new age, a shift of consciousness and chance to heal, ourselves and our planet. And it has nothing to do with politicians OR billionaires.
“We, the people” proved to ourselves these last months that “we, the people” can make the needed sacrifices, as President Jimmy Carter had called for in the late 1970s – sacrifices to curb our materialistic desires, commercialism and money agendas in order to make a difference. Carter had spoken in the 1970s about an energy shift, a move from big oil use to sustainable wind and solar. But, we can take it to a higher level now – we can heal ourselves and Planet Earth after forty years and understand his words more vibrantly today than ever before – “it’s the moral equivalent of war” but based on construction rather than destruction.
It’s the calling now. We’ve come this far. Let’s push it far, like brothers and sisters, together.
And one day, our kids will look back at our generation and say “wow, look what they did!”
Just launched! – Youtube Channel with regular updates about President Jimmy Carter’s legacy related to human rights, peace, health, energy policies and history. . . we have not forgotten!
Let’s remember the kind of values we honor and put a smile on our faces, just like Carter here, and plan some national parties to honor a living president.
This will be our fourth year in Marin County with city and county wide Proclamations, California Resolutions, musicians, restaurants, bars and speakers, including ABC Host Spencer Christian, environmental activist April Peebler!
What’s more? We’ve called out some of our favorite citizens with birthdays in October, too, those who remind us of our power, as the people! Happy birthday to Peter Coyote, Angela Alioto, Kathleen Russell, Jose Neto and and. . . John Lennon, too!
Join us for my talk following the Alwar International Film Festival in India where a peace movement has been seeded.
AND we did it! Our film The Man Behind The White Guitar received an award – Best Bio Pic!
A huge congratulations to the international team for creating this wonderful project to help share the values of kindness, generosity and humility with the power of the White Guitar! THANK YOU!
My reaction was likely the same as yours. . . what the hell?
The recent Senate bill supporting our American society after a global economic and health crisis was nothing less than a corporate frenzy feeding by our politicians. This should be a dire wake up call right now for “we, the people.”
We have not been heard. It took Bernie Sanders screaming for four years and beyond to wake us up. And without a penny from a corporation or billionaire, it may be evident that they did their fancy foot work AGAIN and squashed him quietly so we would forget what it means for the working class and the working poor to stand on our own two feet and scream as loud as Bernie.
But, I ponder if we are truly ready for this act, when “we, the people” are not living into the integrity we so demand of others. Over the last few years I’ve had enough examples in my life to show that it’s not the politicians who are corrupt and exploitative – it’s everywhere in our society, even in my own neighborhood against the most vulnerable people, including my eight year old son.
I think the moment hit me hard as I sat in the driveway one sunny afternoon. My eight year old son wanted to have a garage sale and he was determined to do it all by himself, including signage and him choosing which possessions of his to sell. I loved his determination. I chose not to tell him his signage was barely legible. I smiled when he hung it upside down on the curbside post. He grabbed his big collection of hot wheels which he rarely used and laid them out on a blanket on the driveway, waiting patiently for his first customer who turned out to be his only customer – a passerby. An older woman out on her walk greeted my son and my son worked hard to be the professional. He greeted her and showed her all he had to sell. She especially liked the cars, and he offered each one for 5 cents. She gave him three dollars for the entire collection. He packaged them up in a bag with a big thank you. He turned to me and smiled. “See mom, I can do it.”
My jaw had dropped. The woman walked away with an extra skip to her walk as if she was happy to get the deal of a lifetime, for her own grandkids, as she had told me. Any other garage sale would have had a sticker price of at least 30 dollars for my son’s collection.
My jaw was still dangling, but I put myself together for my son. I wanted him to own this feeling of accomplishing something himself, and I resisted the urge to tell him that he was robbed blind. That woman completely exploited an eight year old boy and she felt good about it.
Now, my own mother, a generous sort, would have entertained the young boy, understanding his age and ability. She would have spotted him a good $20 bill at least and given him a pat on the head. My mother’s view of the world is how I grew up, believing we help each and neighbors are honest with one another. Her rearing did not prepare me for our world today.
About five years ago I went through a divorce and lost pretty much everything. I had to struggle back into the “game” realizing wages in my own Marin County, California were literally slave wages for the working class. I started to accrue debt rapidly, just to survive, believing that I’d soon find a job to make a decent living. However, after four years I found myself in $40,000 in debt which kept me awake at night. I had never experienced such debt in my life.
I kept getting letters in the mail about loans to eliminate my credit card debts, so I decided to check one out, feeling a bit uncertain given that many such “deals” are often scams. I made the call. The nice man Michael talked me through the process which sounded like a great deal. I was enormously stressed given I had been working as a substitute teacher and I found myself telling him some of these woes and how criminal it is that teachers make such low wages. He really listened and played into the “friend” role. I began to trust him. He’d call just to check in, understanding I was stressed and he genuinely sounded like this method could help me get over the financial hump. Like my mother, my innocence goes deep. I found it difficult to question the integrity of a professional and could not imagine one exploiting a single mother in debt and working the way I was.
Michael wouldn’t send me the full documentation over email, saying at the time it wasn’t complete but he’d have it complete the night I’d meet his notary (anywhere and anytime), so then I could read the contract. It was in the dark of night, at a local cafe, where I sat down with a woman whom I had never met before and she presented me the financial contract. My jaw dropped again though I didn’t reveal my shock right away. Did they really suspect I was THIS STUPID? The idea was they’d give me a lump sum, make a deal with my bank, screwing them (and I liked my bank – a community credit union) and ruin my credit for years. But there was more. If the bank sued the company for the bully deal they were preparing the bank, I would be responsible for all litigation and lawyer fees!
I realized the notary kept looking at her phone. Michael had been texting her and it was completely evident to me that I was set up for a complete scam. I looked at her hard and then started to laugh uncontrollably. There was pure humor in this moment. “Did you really think that I was THIS STUPID!” She got very quiet and actually, in the end, sided with me and said “we women really need to stick together, don’t we?” She felt bad. At least, I think she did. I even told her I’d pay her notary fee for the evening. She declined and disappeared into the night. I never heard from Michael or the company again.
Tonight, days after the Senate bill sold the people out, I sat down with my son again. He’s now almost 14 years old and continues to have a strong independent nature. He had wanted a “credit card” to use for online purchases. So, together we went to our local CVS store where he picked out a card and added a value of $20 to it, money which he had earned. I pointed out to him that he was also spending $3.95 simply for buying the card. He didn’t care and made the purchase. Later he made a few online purchases until he discovered this: for every purchase, the credit card company takes a dollar. A full dollar!
Now, you could think that I’m stupid for not reading the small print or teaching my son to read the small print. You could say I’m naive and should have researched these contracts or at least have stood up to that woman who jipped my son over the hotwheel set. That’s right, I could have. But, my point here is how do we even question our government and their exploitation when our entire culture operates in a predatory and exploitative approach. It’s everywhere! How can one develop trust in a system when one has to question everything. What has happened to honesty and making an honest living?
It’s not the government that needs to be reworked. It’s not even about newly elected officials representing us. We, the people need to step up integrity and stop pointing fingers at others until we face ourselves. We need a system to call out those who continue to exploit us and we need to stand up for one another.
As we experience lockdown, and dwell on our own mortality, let us also think about life and what we want out of life, community and society. Let us go deep with a cleansing of our entire culture of the exploitation and be prepared to stand up for the vulnerable and call out those who are robbing us blind.
We are better than this. And we deserve better.
If it’s not a revolution we undertake, let’s make it a cleansing and create a just world for ourselves. I, for one, would love to see my children grow up and look back at our current generation and be inspired by our power of honesty, integrity and justice and accept nothing less. Listen to my mother.
My suggestion: No more profit for the corporations.
Buy second hand only
Buy from small businesses
Create community gardens, own local food sources
Share, barter and trade goods
Get creative and never give them a penny more.
What are your ideas?
I’m in Delhi right now and in a few hours I board the train for Alwar south to meet up with international film makers, writers and industry leaders. Yes, we were selected to screen our film The Man Behind The White Guitar at the Alwar International Film Festival this weekend!
Why is this location important? This film which has been a collaboration by artists around the world, including Brazil, UK, NY and California, shares the life and music of a Brazilian Guitarist named José Neto who walks the talk with kindness, generosity and humility. Despite the fact he shares global stages with world leading musicians, as he is one himself, most people do not know his name. He has never promoted himself, as many have done these last 40 years. Let’s call it old school method or how Paul Liberatore Music Journalist says about him – “he’s in service to music, not fame or money.” These are good values in our world today and it’s an opportunity to shine the light on what can inspire us.
What’s also significant about this location in India is that Neto jammed with George Harrison in London and we all know the significance Indian music had on The Beatles. The White Album was written in India, not too far from Delhi, as The Beatles were on a spiritual quest themselves.
Yesterday I had the time to visit the Gandhi Smriti to give my respect to India’s legendary leader and I was so moved. His words reminded me of a spirit we can all get in tune with as the year 2020 brings in vast changes, and we must start dreaming big in order to make the positive changes needed for everyone in this dark hour of Australia burning, global war brewing, authoritarian regimes breeding and ocean acidifying. We, the people, must take a collective stand because we have forgotten our power and our responsibility, despite the fact we have had those before us who have lead the way in writings, music and their legendary lives.
Isn’t it our time now?
I have always felt as an outsider in my own country. That division began when I was 13 years old watching politics and life fall apart for my family. Most people don’t understand when I tell the story of my father’s 1981 national strike because they didn’t live it and it’s not in history books – in fact, the strike has nearly been erased from history. And, it was, with reflection, the last act of solidarity in this country, by a group of families who risked everything in order to demand political honesty when President Ronald Reagan had lied to them and gave them false promises in order to be elected. The trauma that strike left on my family and others, as many lost everything, committed suicide, were jailed or fine, taught me something . . . it was a gift, because it’s allowed me to see the truth of these last forty years and to scream them, post President Jimmy Carter who actually tried to stop climate change and the impact of foreign oil. Now, we do not have a second chance with the environmental policies, energy policies and more . . . that the GOP has delivered, along with the submitting Democrats who cashed out. We MUST clean up these last 40 years. Trump is merely the mirror demonstrating who and what this country became. And now we can shatter that mirror into shards and recreate the reflection we want – and that, I will say, includes kindness, generosity and humility.
We can do it. We can do it all over the world. “We, the people.”
FLASHPOINTS, Friday, Dec 13, 5pm
KPFA, Berkeley CA/Pacifica News Radio
I was very excited to join Dennis J Bernstein’s KPFA/Pacifica news program Flashpoints at KPFA Berkeley, CA, December 13, 2019.
It’s time to recognize those 12,000 families of the 1981 historic national union strike who stood up for the people of this country demanding political honesty – they are our inspiration today of what it means to be a citizen in a democracy, as written in the constitution “we, the people”.
And, it’s time to come clean, America. What happened in the 1980s under Reagan – wars, economics, labor and media policies that have devastated our country today? After all, wasn’t it the Iran hostage siege that determined the 1980 elections? That would essentially mean Iran controlled our elections. Was it truly a manufactured Hollywood style propaganda presidency that hoodwinked the American people? Why are we NOT talking about the war crimes of the Reagan Administration today? Reagan is known as the “Hero” of the Republican Party and has been worshiped by both the GOP and Neoliberal Democrats. It’s time to look at history with 20/20 vision and set the record straight.
We will not forget President Jimmy Carter and A Road Not Taken – Carter’s visionary solar and wind energy initiatives at time when we KNEW about carbon consequences. It’s a miracle he wasn’t shot when asking the American people to take a stand against OPEC. Carter is the shining light in our election year . . .let’s “Jimmy” these elections, and remember what integrity is all about. http://www.jimmycarterjamboree.com
Listen for what is a very dynamic, sobering conversation! Time to come clean, America!