Here is a thought for 2020. Perhaps we need to be inspired enough to incite a new Roaring 20s. One hundred years ago another 20s decade dawned. America had just prohibited liquor. Women, though having recently gained the right to vote in most western countries, were still faced with a multitude of restrictions in professions, education, social mores and laws. State-sponsored censorship in expression and the arts was rampant.
People in all western nations realized that the state had gone too far. In the face of all this, we saw the greatest peaceful civil disobedience in history. In numbers, it even outdid the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Growing out of American speakeasies which seemed to pop up in hidden locations under every street corner, the desire to free one’s passions from state dictate and blue-haired prohibitionism spawned a decade of creativity we have rarely seen.
From the literature of Hemingway and Fitzgerald that gave us a new way of writing, to the art of Picasso and the modernists to the blooming of Jazz to the start of the motion picture industry to women’s political action and fashions that defeated constricting social conservatism, we saw a volcanic eruption of our transcendent yearning to live free. It was a special time where the exercise of personal poetry and power put millions of cracks into the walls of restriction and oppression.
In this decade we now enter — in this time of new prohibitionism all around us and misguided and suffocating political correctness — let’s take a lesson from the previous decade of the 20s. Let us resist the attempts at sanitizing and homogenizing every individual action. Let us have the courage to give birth to a new age of poetry and power. Let us say enough to today’s dumbing down of culture that is nothing but a race to the bottom producing mediocrity lest we offend anyone with anything. And let us spawn a decade of individual elegance and eloquence that will be a legacy for all — but particularly the young — to aspire to and enrich our common existence.