I was not alive in the 1960’s. I didn’t hit the scene until the late 70’s. But I am fascinated by those decades. PBS has a series of programs that highlights each decade showing the major political, domestic, and cultural shifts of the period. Last night I watched the SIXTIES episode again, probably for the 3rd or 4th time. I am just captivated by the images.
I am so amazed at how many public demonstrations, rallies, and protests there were. How many assignation of great leaders (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X). How many colleges students were beaten by the police with billy-clubs and tear gas.
There was the summer of love, the revolutionaries, the War in Vietnam. It was the last decade were an independent presidential candidate, Gene McCarthy, actually made a decent run at the White House. Cities were burned to the ground in riots: Watts, Oakland, Detroit, Newark, Chicago. The Civil Rights movement attempted to bring peaceful protest to the South in Memphis, Selma, and Birmingham all led by a evangelical Baptist preacher. National guard and military forces were released on American citizens.
The music, oh the music, resonated with freedom, love, and peace. Illegal drugs, rock-n-roll, women’s liberation, bra burners, the Black Panthers, draft cards, draft dodging, and all the rest were very real issues for the people. There was a culture clash: the conservative Whites with all the power and money vs. everyone else, the young, the disenfrancised, the minorities, the wounded vets, and the Hippies.
So what were the results of the 60’s. What were the spiritual ramifications of such times? That is a question still in debate today, over 40 years later. The Baby Boomers who lived in those days, who protested for Civil Rights, who stood against the established authorities, are now the authorities. They are now the ones with the money, power, and prestige. They own companies, pastor large churches, and are in public office.
So what has become of the all the revolutionaries? Will there ever be another time in the history of America were such unrest and political upheaval will hit our streets? I am not sure I want to be around when it does.