Friday, January 27, 2017

Oh, The Times They Are A'Changin'

Grab this related post Widget!
Back in the 60's we had all sorts of protests going--civil rights and the anti-war movements especially, as well as the beginnings of those for women and gays. I was a college student during those heady times, and while I had long hair (believe it!) and wore the requisite hippie attire I admit I wasn't a card-carrying member of the "revolution." My main concern was not going to that damn jungle, shooting at people I didn't know, and most importantly not having them shoot at me! Fortunately I drew a super high lottery number that kept me out of the fray.

Thinking back on it all I'm struck by how influential my brothers and sisters have been in altering society during my lifetime. We were vigorously rebelling against the Establishment, and our generation succeeded not only in helping bring to an end the Viet Nam war but advancing all of the other causes we were fighting for.

But in the process of creating an ever more liberal, globalistic world an unforeseen thing happened--the anti-Establishment folks became the Establishment.

Now out of nowhere Donald Trump of all people--a billionaire businessman with zero political experience and an undeniable member of the Establishment--shocks everyone by running a populist, anti-Establishment campaign that propels him into the White House. What?!?!?

So in this suddenly topsy turvy world in which we find ourselves, the proponents of the very same ideology that once railed against the Establishment have once again hit the streets and social media protesting, only this time they're fighting for the Establishment and the policies they've worked so long and hard to implement.

Who can blame them? Few anticipated this unlikely turn of events, so no Plan B was even considered.

In reference to my previous post about getting older, it's fun to be on the planet long enough to observe these cyclical ebbs and flows. I recently pointed out to a young person filled with fear about the election that back in the 50's America got caught up in an emotional frenzy about nuclear annihilation from the Russians. We kids had air raid drills at school where we got under our desks, and people actually built bomb shelters in their back yards.

Guess what--we're still here.

Isn't it great to be citizens of a country where you can take a stand, be committed to a cause, and peacefully protest when things aren't going your way? Maybe it's time for everybody to take a breath, take a chill pill, and let life unfold. It doesn't always turn out as expected, but based on my experience in the long run we'll be just fine.

6 comments:

Carlos said...

I admire the optimistic sentiment of your conclusion but beg to differ with its rationale. The "proponents of the ideology" who protested the VietNam War were advocates of peace, brotherly love and harmony. To contend that they became the establishment and brought those ideals to fulfillment--and that the current wave of protestors wish to preserve that achievement--is pollyannish and wrong.

The bogeyman of the 1950's you spoke of was the Soviet Union. The fall of the USSR in 1991 should have enabled the dream of those 1960's era protestors, I.e., peace, brotherly love and harmony. Instead the "Establishment" brought us endless war, mayhem, destruction, the senseless deaths and suffering of tens of millions of innocent men, women and children and the reflexive backlash of retributional terrorism as its offspring. Is that the "Establishment" that today's protestors are fighting for?

If so, I'll repeat the sentiments I have expressed here before: I am thankful to be here in Ecuador where tranquilo is the byword, not the arrogant and ignominious belief in "American exceptionalism."

The mistaken belief in exceptionalism and moral superiority brought us the world wars that preceded VietNam as well as those that followed. Maybe that's what today's protestors should be decrying.

izzie11 said...

I must say, I agree with @Carlos. In the late 50's and early 60's my elementary school had regular "air raid" drills. The entire student population would dash down to the basement which was designated as an official bomb shelter. We stood quietly and waited for the "all clear". My participation in the civil rights movement - as a white woman - was life changing and that experience has remained with me throughout my life.

There is a clear and present danger in our world today and this new, oh God this is hard to say, President, is so unpredictable that most people my age are truly terrified of what this pathological liar will say or do next. Clearly, the USA is a divided nation. The supporters of this man believe he can do no wrong. The rest of us are taking any kind of action available to us to make our voices heard by our elected representatives and cannot wait until the mid term elections here.

This person and his team in the White House are very, very dangerous. Making up their own facts, telling the press to "shut up", denying over and over again the lies that they've told. We are in a new territory.

I am doing much more research on Ecuador as well as a few other countries, and am looking forward to the time that I can make this anticipated move.

Always a pleasure to read your blog posts and the comments provided by your readers.

Edd Staton said...

Carlos, always good to hear from you. It makes me happy that you continue to read my blog and comment respectfully. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone did that without having to be "right?"

Assuming you're around my age let me remind you that the main organizers of many of the protests, including the infamous Democratic National Convention mess, were radical groups like the SDS, not stoned "peace & love" hippies. And violent groups like the Weathermen (including alumnus Bill Ayers) demonstrated their desire for harmony by rioting and blowing stuff up.

Sadly the desire for power and control seems to be hardwired into the DNA of Homo sapiens. Thus members of our species have waged war others throughout our history. Peace, brotherly love, and harmony are what we've demonstrated as Pollyanna-ish. There's a reason we're not all living in communes---we don't want to.

Edd Staton said...

Hey, Izzie. Thanks for chiming in. I respect that your concerns are genuine, but be careful about making sweeping generalizations. Most people your age are truly terrified? How can you possibly know that? Trump's supporters believe he can do no wrong? Incorrect. Those who helped elect Trump know he's a political neophyte and that he's going to make mistakes along the way. They put him in the Oval Office not for the "same old same old" but because he promised to try to clean up the mess our government has become. And he sure had a busy first week!

izzie11 said...

Edd, I am the leader of an organization of people my age, over 55+. Many of them are Republicans, such as yourself. We all have one common goal, to live in a country that recognizes the Constitution. Thus far, the media has been told to "shut up and listen", those who disagree with DT have been told to "get on board or leave", or they've been fired. This administration consists of people who defend DT at all costs and create their "alternative facts" to suit their purpose. Surrounding yourself with people who represent the worst side of people, and yes, I'm talking about Steve Banon, is a very dangerous way to govern. We've had families disrupted and in some cases lives put at risk and the new policy is now propaganda for ISIS. You sir, are not in touch with the base of his supporters. I have a son who is very much a DT supporter and he is in the middle of their movement to have this person reelected. It breaks my heart, but we can agree to disagree. Don't for one minute think that there was a "mess" that needed cleaning up. This country is in jeopardy and it's only been 10 days since this new person is in the highest position in our country. You sound like many others who voted for him who say "we didn't take him literally". This is just the beginning of a very tumultuous time for our country.
Please do not speak to me as if you think I'm out of touch. I'm very much in touch with both sides of the issues.
You are not living here any longer, but your children and grandchildren will be affected by these sweeping changes in one way or another.
Good luck to you, and enjoy Ecuador. We, and I mean the majority of citizens here, do not experience your peace and quiet and happiness. You need only to read the real news, not the right wing pieces that are distributed to rile up the ultra conservative, who want a "white" America. Yes, I'm passionate about this because this is my country too.

Carlos said...

Hi Edd. I always enjoy reading your blog posts as well as your respectful replies to comments.

In reply to your remarks, yes, I am your age and I well remember SDS and the Weather Underground. You are correct that they played a large role in the violence of the late 60's/early 70's. However, the overwhelming majority of protestors involved in the large demonstrations of that era were NOT SDS sympathizers but rather young people who were anti-war, peace-loving, non-violent and desirous of changing the extant "perpetual war for perpetual peace" lunacy that continues to this day.

You contend that a desire for power and control is hardwired into our DNA. Yes, we all would like to have greater control over our surroundings, our lives and our fate. However, I strongly disagree that we are hardwired to want to kill each other and to live in a constant state of peril for ourselves and our loved ones. Call me naive and a dreamer but I refuse to believe that everyone else on the planet is a homicidal control freak.

I never contended that we all want to live in communes. However, I do believe--contrary to your contention--that the vast majority of mankind does want to live in peace. And the "Establishment" that you suggest today's protestors are supporting are the very warmongers who have brought us constant war for your and my lifetimes.