The 1980s were interesting, and I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. We lived with trickle-down economics (that never, for the record, trickled) and gross excess on the part of many, but somehow kindness and empathy became badges of honor.

We were born into or lived through the Vietnam War. The government declared ketchup a damned vegetable. We had experienced life with four TV channels and then marveled as video killed the radio star in 1981. The world was beginning to shrink, and somehow we knew it.

We’d had nuclear bomb drills in school (and, no, hiding under school desks is no protection at all against nuclear fallout). When we watched the Berlin Wall come tumbling down in 1989, we felt like we had accomplished something.

There was no shame in compassion.

Sometimes it seemed like there was a new crisis around every corner…AIDS, global and domestic poverty, apartheid, hunger.

Band Aid, comprising some of the biggest pop music names at the time, came out in 1984. It was followed by Farm Aid (1985), Live Aid (1985), Hands Across America (1986) and others I’m forgetting. It might well have been a publicity stunt for the artists, but it gave us a common rallying point. And yes, everyone’s hair really was that funny.

My point? We are now more connected than anyone could have dreamed 32 years ago. This connection gives us the power to do and be more. To put kindness into action without needing to be a celebrity.

Let’s use it, ‘kay?