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Response to Gregorian (Reply #26)

Thu Oct 22, 2015, 03:22 PM

33. You may have heard about the political upheavals of the Sixties?

 

Most Americans in the 1960s weren't as conscious as "the Sixties generation," who were primarily people in their teens and 20s, and not all of them as acutely politically conscious as the activists, mostly college/university students, such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) who drafted the Port Huron Statement. Another group gravitated toward "spiritual" pursuits -- Eastern religions, psychedelics, metaphysical stuff, some of which fed in to the New Age phenomenon of the Seventies. Gurus abounded, Tim Leary, Ram Dass, the Maharishi, Stephen Gaskin, etc. The countercultural lifestyle was most notoriously expressed by the hippies, whom the media later transformed into a caricature and a joke, whose motto was "Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out." Of course the various threads of the counter culture interacted; not too many were all political or all countercultural. The music reflected all of this -- folk music at first, then a thousand explorations ("Dylan went electric!", all of them captivating in their own way, accompanied by psychedelic art posters, and entirely too much to go into here. An incredibly, almost mind-bogglingly, rich time.

But, yes, the whole thing was a reaction to a lopsidedness in American culture, much of which was social, expressed in the extremely straight-laced Fifties, and much went deeper, as the Port Huron Statement shows. Even President Dwight Eisenhower, a former General, had warned the people about the Military Industrial Complex. The earliest stirrings that I was aware of were the wonderful souls who got the Civil Rights struggle off the ground in the late '50s, early 60s. Much courage, much heroism there. And President Kennedy started the Peace Corps, an outlet for youthful idealism and adventure. But I know these struggles go back further in time, like the union movement, worker's rights -- which had its own troubadours like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, the Weavers. And going back even further in time, we had the anti-slavery movement. And further, the French Revolution, and before that, the American Revolution. But, as we all know, some lopsided versions of leftist political activity produced oppressive communist regimes which, imo, didn't accomplish their ends very well, if at all.

So I don't know where it all started; it probably started after groups of cave men began to dominate and oppress other groups of cave men and women. Maybe I could learn more about our version of this struggle by reading Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States," which I own but haven't gotten around to reading yet. But I can tell you that American social conservatives exist in violent reaction to the Sixties, which they absolutely loathe.

This is the generation that produced Bernie Sanders. From what I've read, he wasn't nearly as "wild" as many of our generation, but he was 100% sincere and, unlike so many, didn't eventually sell out. He's pure homegrown American goodness, which is what he needs to express to the country, and I hope he does.

What Reagan did was to flip American society upside down so that corporate entities, and the great wealth that they represent, could gradually seize power and prevail over the American people. Reagan represented a large group of social conservatives, business interests, and capitalist ideologues who were alarmed by the powerful middle class that began to express itself in the Sixties and Seventies (and had been made possible by FDR's social/ economic programs) -- and so planned for years to overturn it. An early artifact of this modern conservative movement is the Powell Memo, in which Lewis Powell, a Supreme Court justice, warned his fellow conservatives in the Chamber of Commerce that they were losing and roused them to action. After Reagan, Clinton and Bush I furthered the conservative agenda while rightwing talk radio (and later, Fox News) kept the public distracted and angry at the wrong people, and then Bush II essentially pushed us over the cliff. Obama, imo, has been trying to hang on to the cliff with one or two fingers, but the situation is truly dire. And I don't think I'm exaggerating. Which is why the 2016 election is so crucial.

So Reagan was the catalyst for the conservative victory that has put America into its current predicament, but the roots go way back. And that's about all I can write at this point because, like all old people, I get tired.

Maybe some of my fellow oldsters could tell you more.

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Gregorian Oct 2015 OP
Mnemosyne Oct 2015 #1
in_cog_ni_to Oct 2015 #2
Ron Green Oct 2015 #3
Gregorian Oct 2015 #6
senz Oct 2015 #20
Gregorian Oct 2015 #26
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senz Oct 2015 #33
Gregorian Oct 2015 #34
demwing Oct 2015 #4
AOR Oct 2015 #7
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