By Sherry Pasquarello,Senior Columnist/worldwidehippies.com
Worldwide Hippies has been a labor of love. I came in about a year after Joe started it. He and I have seen friends and contributors come and go. Some moved on to other things; some unfortunately passed on. I started out writing a few nostalgia pieces about what my hometown was like back in the 60’s; I’m a Burgh girl, well, a Burgh gramma now but a Pittsburgher in my heart and soul.
I’m also a hippie in my heart and soul as well. I kept the vibe alive in my heart and in my actions. No, I don’t wear tie dye, in fact I rarely did back in the day though I did have hip-hugger bells bare feet and tooled leather bracelets and rings and such. I didn’t smoke pot because just being in the room with the smoke swelled up my eyes and sinuses and throat; bummer I know. Boone’s farm was my drug of choice. All of that, stuff, isn’t the vibe and the kids today that think that just dressing the part and flashing the Peace sign is, are missing the point.
Yeah we screwed up in a lot of ways as the 70’s wore on and we got older and more involved with our own lives and futures. We were young. We didn’t think that the bad times would come again in our lifetimes. So, as for me, I got married and had a kid and I took care of them both and helped with my grandparents and in-laws and my parents and did the PTA and the block parent thing and helped out passing out literature at my local polling place and volunteered for fund raisers to help pay medical expenses for folks I knew; in short, I lived my life with the hippie vibe.
When Joe gave me the opportunity to try to pass on that vibe with this magazine I was thrilled. I had the time at last, to do something that would reach far further than my hometown. I had been writing a blog since 2005 but it was mainly for poetry. I was (and still am) a poet but as time went on and I saw our government starting to become more and more authoritarian and corrupted by the likes of Murdoch and Ailes- who was Nixon’s go to guy for propaganda- I could see the writing on the wall. So I wrote for WWH and hoped. Oh, I did write about bees and farmers markets, recipes and such but my main concern was politics and I took that seriously. I researched things for hours and I stayed up through countless presidential debates and took copious notes. The right said I was biased. Damn right Skippy, I was informed so I knew. I also knew that I had only scratched the surface, even now.
Fast forward to today. I will tell you what Joe knows but will not say. I don’t care that some may think I’m some sort of a conspiracy nut but I can say this, if I was, I would be writing batshit crazy conspiracy stuff ala Alex Jones and making oodles of money at it like he has. Our magazine has been targeted; it was hacked and sold recently. It took a lot of time, sweat, frustration and money on Joe’s part to get that all straightened out. It’s been targeted again. We had, still do, a Facebook group that was started to augment this magazine. The group’s numbers rose over the past few years to going on to two hundred thousand strong. That’s when we got big enough to be noticed; and boy, we got noticed. I have to give a shout out to all of the monitors and administration of the Facebook group. They’ve done a tremendous job with little thanks but a lot of complaints by folks that couldn’t get the fact that we were worldwide not just American and that we couldn’t catch every argument and mediate some magic solution that would make both sides happy. They’ve been inundated at times by frankly, 2nd amendment fanatics that refuse to hold civil thoughtful debates; instead threatening the administrators with death or rape or rape and then death. They’ve been called every vile name I can think of by folks that have various political views or even differing views on circumcision for infant boys. I’m not kidding. Throughout it all they’ve been there. That’s a hippie vibe. They are there for the benefit of peace and equality and social justice and they deserve more thanks than I can express. As I said, we got too big and we started to get bots from this country and from overseas as well as Uber –right wingers with axes to grind that took the time to make phony personas up just to gain entrance. We were a large group to be converted to whatever cause that believed in; secular, religious, political, or whatever they were there in droves at times.
Back to my blog, I’ve had it for a long time and over the past few years it’s gone from poetry to politics because as I said, I saw the writing on the wall and I knew that we old ones are just that, OLD and in a lot of cases, dead and that there are kids out there that haven’t much of an education on just what governments and big money are capable of. Recently I noticed a strange statistic. My audience which for the most part came from America and the U.K. was being overtaken by hits from Russia and Ukraine and the like. There were bots on my Facebook page and I was getting dozens of those Uber-right wing types following me, never commenting, just following me just like on Twitter. I doubt if I would have ever been noticed (a gramma from the Burgh) if it hadn’t been for the fact that WWH was becoming an annoyance. That’s it, we became an annoyance certainly not a threat but it was enough to take us down because unlike the powers that be, Joe doesn’t possess unlimited funds. This magazine was his baby and he spent a lot of cash on it like any father would.
So, this magazine will be ending. I haven’t decided what I will be doing but I damn sure won’t be giving up the fight. I started with the hope that if I could just teach one person about peace and love and equality, social justice and the fact now that we are very close to losing America to the new Robber- Barons and their allies in other countries then that person could share the vibe and that knowledge with their families and friends and the people that they meet.
I’ve loved my time here. Yeah I’ve had sleepless nights and days where I’ve sat here wrapped in a blanket and making typo after typo while half stoned on cold medicine or pain meds after surgeries but the joy I’ve had writing to all of you has been overwhelming. I’m happy that my daughter and my granddaughter are proud of the work that I’ve done and I’m proud of them for having the vibe and sharing it in their daily lives.
Most of all I’m glad that I met Joe. He taught me a lot over the years just by his example. I gained the brother that I never had.” Love ya Joe, rock on.”