"Are you a hippie?" It was the summer of 1965 and my younger friend Mike Regar's question caught me off guard. There wasn't much of a negative association with the term yet. I suppose that maybe I struggled for just a moment to clarify my worthiness. I hadn't really taken any drugs to speak of. I think I had smoked dope once. I surely believed in the concept of free love but I was hardly any kind of participant. Peace and love? I was okay on that one. My grandmother had taught me that there are no good wars. She was a hippie.
I would be lying if I said that I remember how I answered Mike's sweet, innocent question. I hope I said yes.
Who was the first hippie? Who knows. Jesus or Buddha might get my vote. In this polarized culture these days you have to have your "opinion"ready for the argument. Therefore, I go officially with Harry, The Handsome Hipster, Gibson. He had already renamed himself Harry The Hipster in 1940. On the radio in 1945, though, Stan Kenton referred to him as "Hippie."
We need the hippies now. We need peace and we need love. We need to fight poverty. Someone's gonna have to reform our prison system, our entire system of justice, in fact. We need a leader with the fortitude to stand up to the NRA. Who's ready to expose the military industrial complex and shut down these arms industries. Where are the heroes to face our complex immigration problems. We need to take turns holding and hugging and rocking the orphans and showing all the love and respect that our elderly population needs and deserves.
Come home, hippies. We need you now.