I was watching a rather interesting show on History channel the other day. At least the first half was interesting; the second half got rather depressing. I’ll explain in a minute. The special was about the Hippie movement in the late 60s. I became a Hippie in 1966 and probably still am one to a large extent.
The Hippie Movement has had a lingering effect on American culture, some of it good, some of it bad. The original ideals of the Hippie Movement (Peace, Love and Freedom) still resonate in our society today. What happened to the Hippie Movement was that the trappings (Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n Roll and long hair) were co-opted by people who really did not subscribe to the original ideals. The second half of the History special dealt with the worst example of that: Charles Manson. I don’t care what History channel or anyone else in the media says, Manson was NOT a Hippie! Not by any stretch of the imagination.
As with so many other good things that the media gets their grubby little hands on, the Hippie Movement was perverted and distorted by people who really didn’t understand nor care about what the Movement was really all about. They adopted the superficial trappings and left the ideals behind. What that did was create a very negative and false view of the Hippie Movement. People like Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, and other radical activists were not really Hippies because they condoned the use of violence in their protests. If you’ve watched the movie Forest Gump, the scenes with his Jenny in Washington DC during the Vietnam War show the worst side of the Peace Movement. I was and still am very opposed to war as a political solution. My generation lost a lot of good people in that war. Those of us who were opposed to the war have been misunderstood and portrayed as unpatriotic. Although there were some people at the fringes of the Peace Movement that resorted to unfair personal attacks on those who did serve, I and many others in the movement honor the sacrifice that these men made in a misguided war. The war never was really about stopping the spread of communism. That was only a cover-up to hide the real purpose which was to bolster the power of the “Military-Industrial Complex” that President Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell speech in 1961. As has been said elsewhere, many times, if we do not learn from the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat them: and put down Iraq and Afghanistan.