Saturday, May 04, 2013

Oh baby, Ohio

[photo via Kent State 1970]

A lot of scary things happened at the 60s protests. People were killed more than once, in many places, but for some reason the deaths of the Kent State Four always felt the most tragic. Maybe it's because those kids were peaceful and innocent bystanders died at the hand of panicked law enforcement.

Will Bunch wrote the best Kent State retrospective today. Not sure I agree with him that it marked the spiritual end of the era. Think its demise was more gradual and ongoing. Like most movements, the hippie peace era was slowly strangled by grifters and opportunists who co-opted it for their own ends. For myself, it was the violent methodology eventually adopted by the SSD SDS and the Weathermen that killed what was then called flower power.

But Will is surely right about this:
The question of why the 1960s matter to me is one thing, but what's important is, should the events of 50 years ago matter to the rest of us? Is what happened on May 4, 1970 - and in the tumultuous years leading up to it -- still relevant on May 4, 2013? OK, I've clearly revealed my bias, but I think the answer is undeniably yes -- because there is a straight line between the skirmishes people fought then and the all-too-real war for the future of America that is taking place today.
Much of what's happening today feels like the 60s revisited to me. We're fighting the same battles all over again.

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