I donít have much of a television habit anymore.† I can remember many days of plopping in front of the evening news cast then trudging off to bed several hours later mind numbed and wondering why I did that.† Iím a bit more selective in my old age.† I average about a night each week and itís spent channel surfing.† During my surfing, I might dwell on the History Channel or some similar offering.† I recommend the Military Channel for you old Soldiers and for those of you who want actual accounts of what our Soldiers are doing day to day.†
Friday night I saw a portion of a program on the History Channel about Hippies. ††I wasnít a Hippie, but I did spend the latter sixties and early seventies in Chicago.† The Hippies were hard to miss.† Rush and Wells Streets in Old Town Chicago was a collecting point.† My experience was that they were mostly dropped out, drugged out and generally not too hygienic.† They preferred to call themselves tuned in, turned on and dropped out.† I never was clear about what it was they were tuned in to, but it was mostly drugs and sex that they were turned on to and it was established society, especially the American version of it, from which they hoped to drop out.† They didnít wish to participate or contribute.
I was never able to reach the level of enlightenment the Hippies claimed.† They could see the world much clearer than I.† At least when filled with mind altering hallucinogenic drugs like LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) they thought they could.† They were also easily duped by the political activists of the time such as the Yippies responsible for inciting riots at the 1968 Democrat Convention in Chicago and anti-war activists like Jane Fonda and John Kerry.† Most of that comedy, or tragedy depending on your perspective, I watched on television from a North Side Chicago apartment.† They also blindly followed whatever the popular rock musicians suggested might help them achieve a heightened state of awareness, such as Transcendental Meditation billed as a spiritual awakening.† Many young people, duped into believing the Hippie way was for them, were taken advantage of by pimps, hustlers and cultists the likes of Charles Manson.† The hardcore Hippies believed in communal living and sharing everything Ė literally everything. ††What struck me in the portion of the program that I caught, were the clean and distinguished looking middle aged people offering insight into the Hippie culture.† Once hippies themselves, youíd not know it by looking at them now.† Iím guessing that one day life reached out and smacked them square in the kisser with the realization that drugs and sex in the commune will only take one so far in life.† They had to give up pursuit of their high ideals and join the established working class of the materialistic, capitalistic society they so despised.† I think theyíre still mad about it frankly.
I hope you stuck around through my brief take on the Hippie generation.† I needed to do that to lay the foundation for what else I want to say.† The Hippie generation effected how people my age think.†† From my perspective, Hippiedom was simply an exaggerated form of Socialism that was anti-everything associated with established America.†† Anti-capitalism, anti-defense, anti-military, anti-you name it.† This generation heightened awareness for individuals alright.† One either became a lifelong Hippie in his or her thinking, whether active in the culture or not, or he or she became the hardened antithesis of the Hippie culture.† It solidified forever the draft dodger mentality versus the Combat Veteran mentality.† Makes one think of todayís political conservatives versus liberals brouhaha and the people whoíve become wealthy by working on radio, in print or now on the blogs to keep one side constantly at the otherís throat doesnít it?
What is to consider as we look at the state of our country is that those whose political perspectives were formed during the Hippie generation in either one direction or the other are today running our country.† Into the ground I might add, but running it all the same.†† Members of Congress now disparage our Soldiers, the same as did the anti-war Hippies of their generation.† The people who voted to send them to war have labeled Soldiers as everything from coldblooded murderers to uneducated illiterates.† The leader of the United States Senate calls them losers and their Commanders incompetent.† Once again, the noise from the Hippies is drowning out the muffled mutterings of the country club politicians who we thought had the courage to stand for something besides their campaign funds.
What tore our Country to pieces during the Vietnam War is still tearing us to pieces.† It will continue to do so until either a true leader emerges or another catastrophic event brings us back together.† I hope that we can survive the event.
Copyright © J. D. Pendry 2007