Posted by: Jim | July 22, 2008

The 60’s and Today

 Forty years can change a nation, and we’ve changed a great deal from who we were in 1968.

In 1968, young people were out protesting the war in Vietnam, actively criticizing the government, burning their draft cards and their bras. Students  took over Columbia University (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rudd), and protest was the theme of the day.

Today things are better on two fronts: racism and sexism. Although these problems still exist, many advances have been made. But … by every other definition, today things are worse.  Although Blacks and women may be faring better when compared to white people, we are all faring worse. Our economy has been plundered, our rights have been violated, we’ve been imprisoned, tortured, spied on, lied to, mocked, and vilified.

Where in the world are the protesters?  Where are the megaphones? This question has astounded me over recent months, and the more I think about it, the more I can see the powerful reasons why.  

  1. We’re medicated.
    This is possibly the biggest reason. People used to get angry and depressed about what was going on in the world. Today we take prozac and the problems don’t seem so bad anymore. In the 60’s there was no such solution, so people took an active stance to change the issues that vexed them.
  2. We’re amused.
    Kids in the 60s were bored. They did not text, they did not cell phone, they did not have computer games, or game boys, or play stations. TV was insipid (still is), and so their only forms of entertainment were drugs, sex, rock and roll, and protesting.
  3. We’re ill-informed.
    In the 60s, the news actually reported news. Now it reports on cute, shiny, round, rabbit droppings.
  4. We’re not critical thinkers anymore.
    As today, in the 60s, there were … yes … stupid people. But most college graduates knew how to think critically. If you told them, “Everything black is sweet. Salt is black. Therefore, salt is sweet.” They would know that this was a logical statement, but they might chuckle about its two faulty premises. A college student today would probably guess and say “that’s not logical.” That’s because they define
    truth based on their experience, and not on critical reasoning. The media has ensured that their experience is fluffy and fresh.
  5. We’re numb.
    American kids today–that age group who we generally rely upon to protest–have grown up being lied to, and they have come to expect it. There are no truly great men in government in their memory. I can look back and see a few, but they are vague in my memory, like the outline of Catalina on a smoggy day.  Why protest when you have no vision of something better?
     

It’s an interesting predicament we’ve got going here. A government bent on oppressing us–which used to fear the angry generation of youth–has come to realize it has nothing to fear. This is wrong, of course, because we are still America, and the seed of revolution is still within us.

 

Maybe we will put the zoloft away and actually feel what is going on. Maybe we’re one Mel Gibson movie away from the next Boston Tea Party. Or maybe the government will take one step too far, and wake us up.

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Responses

  1. Bad day Jim?

    It is not all as bad as you make it out to be. We have more homeowners today than ever – economy is not that terrible is it? I mean in 1968 how many people had houses the size we have today, families with multiple vehicles, or all the toys we have today(boats, atv’s, motorcycles,etc.). Seems our standard of living has improved as has our expectations. As to our rights…I remember something about the Hoover era……has it really gotten worse? What about all the Japanese US citizens that have been locked up during the war……isn’t this far worse than what is happening today?

    I suppose it is debatable as to how our economy, freedoms and other items are today. Is it worse though…I do not think so.

    As to kids being bored…I have three kids and they get bored today even with all the gadgets and toys available.

  2. Bubba’s right. Back in the day, there was nothing to drink — but today his fridge is full of Kool-Aid.

    Falling feels like flying, Einstein. Until you hit the ground.

    * * *

  3. “A government bent on oppressing us”

    What?

    I’ll say it again. I drove my American-made Pontiac Bonneville to the golf course two Saturdays ago. I shot crap par. I went back to the bar and had a couple cold, frothy beers. I drove to the airport that Sunday to pick up my daughter (her first solo flight as a passenger) where she conveyed to me how flying was no big deal, “not even the security checkpoints.” I got married the following weekend, where the band played loud and long, pushing max on the decibel level for noise ordinance in this area. We quit at 9:00, when the ordinance says we should. Do I feel oppressed? Does my daughter feel oppressed?

    Nope.

    I’m enjoying all of the freedoms I have since I was a fetus (1964). My question to you is, if you feel oppressed, what elevated level of freedom are you in search of? Freedom is certainly out there for each citizen to achieve, you just have to get past the minimal restrictions that government in an organized and civil society must impose to keep chaos and anarchy from erupting.

    I dare you to name another society in which you can enjoy freedoms and bounty such as this nation provides.

  4. P.S. Let the feeding frenzy commence. I’ll watch, but will not reply to comments. Yes, Chuck, this means you too 😀

  5. Here, Todd, the best nation ever is 17th.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index

    Believe it or not, there are other nations where you can drive out and play golf, drink beer, make use of airplanes, get married and have a party.

  6. Todd and Bubbagut, I made a new post to respond to you.

  7. I’m gonne repeat this, Todd-o, because you missed the subtle nature of the saying:

    FALLING FEELS LIKE FLYING.

    UNTIL YOU HIT THE GROUND.

    GET IT?

    * * *


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