Kevin Hayden has been on fire lately but this post on Obama is especially brilliant. You should read the whole thing because it's not really about the sixties but these quotes get to what I was trying to articulate a while back about what the new generation can learn from us old hippies. First from Tom Hayden, whom Kevin quotes.
You were ten years old when the Sixties ended, so it is the formative story of your childhood. The polarizations that you want to transcend today began with life-and-death issues that were imposed on us. No one chose to be “extreme” or “militant” as a lifestyle preference. It was an extreme situation that produced us. On one side were armed segregationists, on the other peaceful black youth. On one side were the destroyers of Vietnam, on the other were those who refused to submit to orders. On the one side were those keeping women in inferior roles, on the other were those demanding an equal rights amendment. On one side were those injecting chemical poisons into our rivers, soils, air and blood streams, on the other were the defenders of the natural world. On one side were the perpetrators of big money politics, on the other were keepers of the plain democratic tradition. Does anyone believe those conflicts are behind us?To which Kevin adds:
Our capacity to remember is your first line of defense. And in another three decades, yours will be necessary to warn and protect some future generations. We may not always know how to solve every problem. But we can see problems brewing. We can provide some answers. We can point to some things previous generations tried that didn’t work, too.
To trot out the old saw, experience really is the best teacher and the lesson none of us seem to learn when we're young and think we have all the answers is that we really don't even know all the questions yet. Unfortunately, you can't teach experience. It seems the only way to learn that lesson is to live long enough to be able to look back and reflect on our own mistakes.
Update: I just found out that Kevin is in a fix on account of our 'booming' economy and could some help with his December bills. This would be a good time to thank him for his fine work by hitting the old tip jar.