Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Have Figured Out What Is Going On

It is the 60's again.


Except, this time, the "hippies" have left their VW vans behind and have gone to grad school and are busy gathering "data."

Lest you think I am poking fun at these "new hippies," let me assure you, I am NOT.  I was born in 1963, and when I was a little girl, I always had a real fondness for the hippies.  Of course, my mother told me stories about how they used LSD and jumped out of windows.  That was not so impressive.  Thence, when I actually encountered hippies in real life, I was a bit timid, being aware of their potential unpredictability, and all.  But, I admired them, as well.  I admired their disdain for material goods, their passion for civil rights, their desire to make society better for the poor and underprivileged, their hatred of war, their comfort with their bodies, and their less-than-prudish attitudes about sex.  (Okay.  So, that last thing?  Maybe they took it a bit too far.  But, hey, they were reacting to a society that was, perhaps, a tad too "uptight.") 

Eventually, though, the hippies kind of faded out.  The 1980's rolled around, along with a new mind-set.  Conservatism was "in" again.  Guys sported short hair and women's hem-lines dropped, giving the impression of a renewed sexual propriety.  (Was this an illusion?  Yes, in many ways.  Plenty of sex was still going on.)  People became more interested in pursuing material well-being.  A negative outlook toward taxes and the "welfare state" developed.  Why?  Maybe because there were many mistakes made in the implementation of a lot of liberal ideals, mistakes which did cause pain for the middle class.  So, in the 80's, we young people decided to get MBA's and make ourselves lots of money.  (I, though, became a teacher.  You should have heard some of the crap I got from the business students at my university.  These business students used to strut about in their suits and ties and shiny shoes, making fun of the rest of us non-business students.  I shit you not.)

Time rolled on, of course, and the weaknesses and pitfalls contained in the ideas of the "Reagan Revolution" began to show.

Thus, here comes my little hypothesis:

The hippies of the 1960's never really went away.  They just sort of went stealth.  They finished their educations, dressed more normally, got normal jobs, lived in normal neighborhoods, and gave up drugs (mostly).  And -- most importantly -- THEY HAD BABIES.  And they raised these babies with their liberal (now known as "progressive") ideals.  But, did they send them off to live in communes and VW vans and to grow their own organic food?  Well, some of them did.  HOWEVER, a lot of these 60's hippies earned good money and sent their idealistically-raised babies to the finest universities, where they earned undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees, and learned things such as history and law and economics and public relations and data mining.  And now these children of the hippies have come of age, and are flexing their well-educated muscles in a way their parents never could.

So, I give you:

The progressives of today.  Young, idealistic, enthusiastic, fresh-faced.  And SMART.  And CONFIDENT.  And MOTIVATED.

Motivated to do what?  To make this world a better place -- truly a place of equality and freedom and justice.

And I hope they do it.  I think they are much better prepared to do it than their parents were.

But, I hope that in working toward making our society a truly "great" one that they will carefully attend to the lessons of the past.  I hope that they will not altogether discount traditional ways of looking at things and more "conservative" voices.  (Not the d-bag conservatives, but the nice ones.  I truly believe that there are at least a few of those hanging around in coffee shops somewhere.)  Because, as my very wise father used to say, "Before you change the way something is done, you should look at why it was done that way in the first place.  Maybe there were good reasons."  Yes, sometimes things have been done in certain ways for all the wrong reasons.  Although, that is not always the case.

And that brings me to a little request I have of my fellow conservatives.  (All right.  I know I'm not all that conservative.  But, whatever.)  Please don't make fun of today's younger progressives.  Don't treat them with disdain and contempt.  Don't call them communists and fascists -- for they are absolutely NOT that.  They are intelligent people of good-will and you should treat them as such.  Impart any "wisdom" you feel you have in a way that is respectful.  If you don't, anything beneficial you have to say to them will fall on deaf ears.  They are bright.  They truly want a better world.  Work with them. 

1 comment:

  1. Very insightful, Marla!

    I think one other thing that is going on with many young people--liberals, in particular--is the experience of having many of society's grandest, most powerful institutions fail them.

    It is understandable that they would want to jettison them, and build new ones of their own.