Playwright David Mamet writes in a telling essay entitled "Why I am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal" (published in the Village Voice, of all places): "As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart."
He finally realized the disconnect between what he said and what the characters he created were saying. He began to question his distrust of the "Bad, Bad Military," focusing instead on how men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect the rest of us in a hostile world. He began to see his hatred for "the Corporations" as resentment of his need for the goods and services the corporations provide. He read books by Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson and Shelby Steele. (He should send his reading list to Obama and Hillary.)
In his new book, "The Sixties Unplugged: A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade," Gerard DeGroot recalls that not all young people were marching against the Vietnam War when John McCain was hanging on a wall at the Hanoi Hilton. Many of them were beginning to re-examine the assumptions of the youth culture. "The most successful political revolution of the 1960s was not conducted by students, nor was it left wing," he writes. "It was instead a populist revolution from the right, which had Ronald Reagan as its standard bearer.'
John McCain does not pretend to be Ronald Reagan, but he describes himself as a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution. If he can link his long memory to a good memory, those boomers might take up another cry from that era now fading into history: "The times they are a-changin'."