As University of Wisconsin grad, Ted Hamm, stood to speak on behalf of the teachers, long hair flowing, it WAS like stepping back in time. It’s an era many baby boomers look on fondly…the days of their youth. Certain songs trigger in them memories of marijuana and LSD. Others chuckle at the thought of anti-war demonstrations, flowers-in-their-hair, bell-bottomed pants and personal sexual freedom.
Others remember the truth. The Sixties were a time of unbridled self-indulgence; a spoiled generation turned loose on the world to be the rotten young adults they had become. Selfish…indulgent…rebellious…without respect or responsibility, chanting profound slogans like “Make love, not war!” and “Give peace a chance.” “Sex, drugs and rock and roll” was really the only one that captured their intent. They didn’t want war because it required sacrifice and they only wanted peace because they thought it translated to more unbridled sex and drugs.
Still others were serious as hell itself about their rebellion. They folded themselves among the silly sheep and led them nearly successfully to the abyss. They were the William Ayerses and Bernadine Dorns who actively sought the “violent overthrow of the United States government” through the Weather Underground.
We came back from that abyss, but some of that era never figured out what had happened. Those are the ones who look back fondly on their part of it. Others continued down the path to subversion with more stealth.
Many entered the workforce as teachers. And not long after, began to demand “workers rights.” This was code for another movement we once understood to be dangerous…communism. The Eastern European communists worked through labor unions as did Mao in China to stir up the people, pitting them against one other, sowing seeds of discord and eventually working among them in order to take power. “Workers of the world, unite!” was their battle cry and it became the battle cry of American unions as well.