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Monday, August 17, 2009

The Return of the Woodstock Generation

I almost have to chuckle at the left wing criticism hurled at those marauding mobs voicing their freedom of speech at these recent town hall/health reform gatherings. Have Democrats never been to a condominium association meeting? If so, they'd quickly realize that these town hall trouble makers are like docile lambs in comparison to some agitated condo owners who can whip a peaceful condo meeting into frenzied pandemonium faster than you can say "bylaws change".

From what I've seen on news reports, many of the town hall audiences are comprised of people over 55. It seems to me that generally the folks caught on camera complaining the loudest appear to be people of my generation: aka babyboomers. Ah hah! Hasn't anybody else figured it out yet? It's the return of The Woodstock Generation! And we're worried as hell.

Finally, after a relative calm of nearly 40 years, we realize it's time to come out of the closet. I don't mean the gay closet. I mean the gray closet. Gone are the long locks growing down to our knees, the hippie duds, the bell bottoms and leather vests, the flowers in our hair, love beads, pot parties and psychedelic posters. (Well for most of us---that's all over.) We've traded those things in for silver hair, hearing devices, knee replacements. We're downsizing, moving to condos and drooling over grandchildren. Some of us are just plain drooling. And yes we're still doing drugs but this time it's prescription stuff. Granted, we weren't all Vietnam protesters. We weren't all bra burners or flower children or free love fanatics. A lot of us even missed the Woodstock festival. Amazingly, some of us never did drugs. Even so, right now we're all sharing the same basic life experience: Aging. We are getting older. We're living longer but we're getting tired. We're having health problems. And we're worried about how we can afford to survive the upcoming years in good health. It's a very legitimate concern---not just for us but for all Americans.

During the Woodstock era, I held a respectable job during the week and was a hippie on the weekends. Back then, I was liberal leaning but I married a man who served in Vietnam. I tremendously respect his service to our country and the service of the millions of other men and women who fought and died in Vietnam.

So when I hear somebody like Nancy Pelosi and others like her, complain that townhall protesters are Nazi's and anti-American, it makes my blood boil. I firmly believe it was the shed blood of our young patriotic military men and women in Vietnam and the rebellion of our patriotic boomer generation, the marching in the streets, the protests and dissention that ultimately ended the Vietnam War. I believe we have a right to question the authority of the government on something that affects us as personally as health care.

So I say: Rise up boomers. (Or at least sit up straight.) Question those arrogant politicians. Be kind but be firm. Be aggressive. Be scrappy. Be informed. Be organized. Years ago, we used to think that we could never trust the government. Honestly, do you really think Washington is anymore trustworthy today? Now we hear they've got an enemies list and a snitch-on-your-neighbor program. Let's face it, Congress seldom has our best interests at heart. I don't know the answers. I don't even know all the right questions. But I do know that we are not anti-American, malcontent mobs, fiendish extremists or terrorist thugs. (You'll find those sorts at condo meetings.) I don't even like Rush Limbaugh and at my age, I couldn't thug anybody even if I wanted to. We're seniors for God's sake. We've got arthritis. Yet as evidenced by the town hall crowds, we've still got spirit and spunk. The Woodstock nation is still hanging in there---as long as they don't start euthenizing grandma. Right on, brother, right on. Pass it on. Sphere: Related Content


HT700 said...

Interesting blog. Arguably, the biggest legacy of Woodstock is its huge impact on the real children of the sixties: Generation Jones (born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Generation X). This USA TODAY op-ed speaks to the relevance today of the sixties counterculture impact on GenJones:

Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten a ton of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, the Associated Press' annual Trend Report forcast the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009.

Here's a page with a good overview of recent media interest in GenJones:

jennifer said...

i like it. good point about the hippies of then and now.

Anonymous said...

truth with a chuckle

Deborah Snow said...

I invite boomers to connect with my blog, and send me their 4 pg stories of life in the 60's and 70's. I will be selecting contributions to be woven into a book I am writing and planning to publish. I NEED WRITERS.
to write about drugs, music, clothing, lifestyle, family dysfunction, alcohol, Viet Nam, awakening, crazy, wild stories.
The joint writing of this book could be an exciting trip down memory lane. I'd like to ask you to have a look, and maybe promote my idea of a collective book.

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