Skip to comments.The 60's generation
Posted on 09/08/2004 10:30:29 PM PDT by kattracks
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Word that Bill Clinton was headed to the hospital for bypass surgery must have caught a lot of 1960s youth -- as the phrase had it -- off guard.
Many of the aging 1960s youth had no idea that they were aging. They still dress like youth, at least during leisure hours. They listen to the same 1960s music -- for four decades! And, alas, they act like youths, at least socially. Now comes word that one of the 1960s' most famous arrested adolescents had four arteries almost completely blocked by fatty materials. What about all that jogging he did? What about his superior knowledge of healthcare? What about the "all-nighters" he famously "pulled" at the White House and in finishing his memoirs -- memoirs that have all the defects of youth and none of the attributes of maturity?
Well, my 1960s compeers, we are all getting on in years and in artery blockage. The knees creak. The skin sags. Cosmetic ministrations and hair coloring can deceive the public but not the physiology. The 1960s generation celebrated youth more noisily and enduringly than any other generation in American history, and now its Boy President is recovering from quadruple bypass surgery. I wish him well, but as he heads off into old age I would be remiss if I did not note that he and his champions of eternal youth have for years denied old age its achievements, and now they will be living out an old age that they themselves have created -- an old age bereft of the respect old age once commanded. No one is likely to call Bill Clinton a wise old man. No one will note his dignity or sage advice.
Soon he will again be appearing in one of his silly beach shirts and wearing shorts. He will be smiling and quoting from rock and roll songs. He will be telling us whoppers again that only an adolescent would bother with. Rush Limbaugh, the Will Rogers of our time, jokingly ran a tape of one of Clinton's surgeons announcing to the world that the former president was sedated but capable of "arousal." Rush ran the risible tape more than once, and doubtless his audience got the joke. Clinton's two terms may not be remembered for thwarting terrorism or making any geopolitical leaps, but they will be remembered for transforming the White House into Animal House, just the kind of achievement one would expect from 1960s youth.
Paul Johnson, the venerable British historian, recently remarked that he could not think of any other generation in history that had had so many baleful effects on so many institutions.
He was, of course, not talking about the whole 1960s generation. Its engineers, scientists and many of its leaders in commerce have contributed constructively to society. George W. Bush is a 1960s youth, and he has risen to the challenges of adulthood. He beat alcoholism, became a good father and husband, did not flinch from the challenges facing his presidency.
No, Johnson is thinking (as I am) of the left-wing students of the 1960s who rebelled against authority and promised to "reform" all the hoary institutions of their parents. They thrived from campus politics to national politics. They came to dominate the Democratic Party, and as we can see in watching the megalomania of the Kerry campaign, they have proved to be political incompetents when faced with the real challenges of history.
Jean-Francois Kerry is doing badly in this campaign because he is displaying all the excesses of his 1960s left-wing contemporaries. He windsurfs, rides motorcycles, tosses footballs, all for the narcissistic photo-ops that he first learned about in his youth, when he filmed his service in Vietnam and heaved medals in street demonstrations. He dramatically comes down on both sides of issues such as the war in Iraq. He plays the role of the 1960s arrested adolescent, fuming at his opponents, proclaiming bathos and bewildering the electorate.
Now from the press corps emits the alarm that his peer, Bill Clinton, will not be able to campaign for him. Many in the press corps are themselves from the ranks of the 1960 left-wing students. They have convinced themselves that Clinton is the greatest politician of his generation, though he never won a majority in either presidential campaign and only succeeded in his presidency when he adopted Republican policies.
My guess is that in a decade historians will be looking back and see someone else as the greatest politician of the 1960s generation. He will be the president who revised American foreign policy to meet the challenge of our time, terrorism, with a policy of pre-emption. He will be the president who institutionalized the Reagan Revolution. Now who might that fellow be?
Baby boomers need to redeem themselves, time is running out.
So true. Bill is the epitome of the long haired hippy leftist freak of the 60's, the jerk I dated in high school who still trolls for the chicks, and has an elevated opinion of himself. ( His mom is to blame imho)
The 60s was a wasted decade.
"...now they will be living out an old age that they themselves have created -- an old age bereft of the respect old age once commanded..."
Not even old age, but middle age. A resume with 20+ years'of solid work history simply does not carry the same weight these days.
Experience counts for nothing anymore, especially given that technical skills are required for more types of jobs. All it means is that you are old and that your experience is in obsolete technology.
They'd rather hire some youngster who doesn't cost so much and will be more pliable.
No, but it was the "flower children" who got all the good press. The book The Greening of America became a catch-phrase, while "The Blueing of America" never made the nightly news. The premise of the latter was that if all those hippies from the upper middle class wanted to reject the opportunities offered by America, the children of the lower middle and working classes would be only to happy to step in.
Of course, the children of the upper middle class didn't quite, quite reject their prerogatives (their sense of entitlement was already highly developed) and today dominate "the chattering classes" -- the media, the universities, many government agencies. Tyrrell is quite good on the "coat-and-tie radicals" (in his phrase) vs. the "penny-loafer conservatives": Sixties to the Finish. The battle lines drawn up during the Vietnam War are still there, and the battle is engaged once again.
A legitimate observation.
Of course, the children were abetted by the freedom afforded by the now omni-present automobile, the emergent diversion of television and an ebullient economy that afforded a college education even to the least of us, if we were willing to work.
The easy vices of mobility and cheap amusement, experienced away from home, without any particular responsibility set a high proportion on the track to self-obsession.
It was truly a benighted age. The least of us, who had to work our way through college, may have benefitted far more than the so-called best of us.
I wonder how many generations it will take to clean up the mess that mine made.
I quietly chuckled when they announced that Clinton had managed to sit up by himself, and walk across the room with assistance......here comes grandpa.
Clean it up yourselves, It's not too late!
This hippy/60's generation should not be allowed to benefit from Social Securtiy. They killed (aborted) the generation that would have paid for their benefits. So let them "sing for their supper"!
A wonderful idea! This 'sacrifice' of the largest,richest, and best-educated generation in the history of the US, would atone for much, and be fondly remembered into the 22nd century. As it is looking now, this generation will be scorned and ridiculed for a long time after they're gone.
Well SSI is no benefit anyway. Imagine how much money we'd have waiting for us if the combined 15% of our lifetime income were in a Roth IRA or even a real savings account?
But I digress.
Given that I'm 10 years behind the '60s generation, I am also suffering the consequences. [Ours was the generation that turned against the hippies by failing to carry the torch. Instead of ushering in National Socialism, our first presidential vote was for Ronald Reagan.]
My technical skills [12 years of CAD drafting] meant nothing when I got laid off after the Cold War ended. I found myself driving a cab and a delivery wagon until a couple of years ago.
Now I'm back in school, hoping to someday be a professional curmudgeon/crank/polemicist.
I hope to increasingly devil the hippies after graduation. [Cutting my teeth on the profs.]
Baby boomers do need to redeem themselves. No other generation has lauded itself more but left nothing as a legacy. Gee, that actually sums up the Klinton administration.
In many respects, it certainly is. Take the so-called Sexual Revolution as an example. The broken homes produced by the Scratch-That-Itch Generation cannot be put back together. Many of the children are grown up now, their lives irrevocably scarred by their parents' selfish decisions. Quite a few of these younger adults have refused to commit to lasting relationships out of fear of ending up like their parents. In relating to the opposite sex, they have mostly examples of irresponsible and self-indulgent hedonism on which to model their behavior. It will take a long, long time to fix that mess--and that's just one of many messes my generation created.
I was a freshman in college in 1966. Had hair down to my shoulders and smoked marajuana on occasion. Didnt like it, prefered beer, and yes I DID inhale. Still didnt like it. I was against the Vietnam war because it was a bullshit war. Still believe that today. I held quasi liberal views into my mid 20's because that is how long it takes the real world to eradicate the bullshit you are taught in college by communists pretending to be teachers.I went to the U. of Texas in Austin.
Today, I am married and run two successful corporations. I am and have been a conservative since I voted against peanuts for brains Jimmy Carter in 1976. I have paid more in taxes and Social Security than you will probably pay in your lifetime. As it looks now, I'm not gonna need the pittance that is coming from Social Security but, what I do with it is none of you f**king business! I suggest you go out and get a job and stop your pathetic whining. Most of the " Hippies " I know from the 60's are respected and reputable people who contribute daily to the betterment of their communities.
The money you paid into Social Security is gone, or is now being spent to pay current retirees. The money that you expect to receive will be paid by people like me who are a generation or more younger than you. That money is my f**king business, your expectations are not.
Glad to hear that you don't need the money. I'm planning on it not being there.
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