Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Newsweek published an article title “1968 – the year that changed everything” back in November that proposed that we all are stuck in that year. I suppose they meant mostly us boomers, but in a way I suppose all of America is too.

Barack says he is “not of the ‘60s”, and Hillary tried to spend money on a “Woodstock Museum”, and McCain quipped that he was “tied up” most of that decade, but can anyone really escape them?

If you are near my age, you constantly got reminded that life is short and precious. Beginning with the “Cuban Missile Crisis”; the assassinations of “Robert (’68), Martin (’68), and John (’63)”; we have had too many reminders. If you add in the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, we got to witness three of them televised “live!”

Later there were constant reminders that our world, even the American world, was unstable. Wallace was shot and paralyzed in ’72, then Ford was shot at in ’75, and then Reagan was shot in ’81. I hold my breath now when I see today’s candidates in crowds. I can just imagine, after seeing all the past history that some “sicko” might take a shot at a woman or black man with the “audacity enough to run for president of his country”!

How could we not be “held hostage” as Jonathan Darman phrased it in the article.

To some degree we boomers were somewhat less shocked by the Iranian hostage situation, the Lockerbie crash, the Columbia disintegration, and even 9-11 terror! We had already seen our mortality on the little screen many times and grew up knowing that life was short and sweet. Shocking as it all was, it was nothing compared to the shock of the ‘60s on children of the “safe” generation. A generation experiencing the end of WWII and Korea, to a “cold war era” that was frightening in itself, but at the same time a safe period of security, drummed into our heads by situational TV that depicted fairytale lives where problems only lasted 30 minutes.

I remember when I heard about President Kennedy back in ‘63, I was sitting in senior English class at Harriman High School. Later at home, sitting on the floor with my elbows on my knees, watching the news coverage of Lee Harvey being hustled out through the garage area of the police station, I saw and heard the gunshots and witnessed the look of pain on his face as he folded amid a throng of police protection. I remember being disappointed in the sound of the gunshots…sounded fake – not like Gunsmoke to me!

Over and over they played the bullet strikes on Connelly and Kennedy and we watched in horror as Jackie crawled onto the limousine rear deck, partly, I suspect, trying to summon help for her husband, and partly to escape the absolute horror of seeing her husband’s head open up like a watermelon in front of her! Just imagine what she heard, that awful crack and thump it must have made, and the blood and brain matter of the one she loved everywhere, but especially that which was on her and on her clothes.

We saw it, we witnessed it, but in black and white, she heard it in surround sound and saw it in HD color…up close and personal. There are countless soldiers that have gone crazy from witnessing the same thing of one of their buddies on the battle field. Inside she must have been a mess and the mess probably woke her many a night in screams.

We all screamed inside when we see that, even today, especially if you loved “Camelot”!

No wonder we went to loud metal music, drugs, and alcohol in ‘60s and ‘70s…we needed the escape to forget the things we had seen and to forget our own mortality.

But somewhere along the end of the ‘70s we started to forget…the music changed…the drugs changed, but alcohol remained the same. What changed was Vietnam. We began to doubt our government and the grand purpose we had thought America stood for, but it was gone. Governments seem to go to war for the money, the oil, and the power of it! Us, the Russians, the Brits, and the Chinese…just a giant pissing contest over the bodies of their young men, who innocently followed orders blindly. Blindly that is, until the end of Vietnam…then the questioning of government began, and continues today.

Darman ends his article by asking us if we are really out of the ‘60s. He, like me, sees that we still have segregated cities, governments, businesses, and women are still chained in corporate America, and most strikingly similar today is that we are bogged down in two war zones so very similar to Vietnam and Korea. Government never learns from past mistakes, and they never will because the lives they expend are other people’s kids and not their own.

It seems we’ll never realize Martin Luther King’s dream of children that “will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

We are still there in 1968, watching our television sets waiting for the news anchors to tell us what to do. They can’t! They can only tell us how very similar we are to what we were over 40 years ago.

We need a leader that can and will tell us how to get out of the revolving door of history and step into true change.

Who do you think he/she/it is?

I know one thing; we do not yet have leaders like we had in the ‘60s. There’s no one yet that is inspired or ordained by God.


~Fathairybastard~ said...

First off, I must say it's hilarious to read your (unintended) phrase "assignations of “Robert (’68), Martin (’68), and John (’63)”. By the time I was becoming aware of things, all the media wanted to talk about were their "assignations". It was all about who they fucked, and did they kill Marilyn.

I don't know man. It sounds like you and a lot of others in your time just drank too deeply when they were handin' out the Kool-Aid. That whole "Camelot" thing was hype, fed to your generation by a media that was essentially working for the JFK administration. Yours was the first generation to have it's mind numbed by TV, so it was easy to do. If it wasn't for TV there couldn't have been a "Camelot". If the press had been doing it's job, in stead of kissing up to JFK, they might have uncovered a few of the things that lanced that bubble in the 70s.

I've heard this other stuff all my adult life too... How your generation went into such shock over everything that went on, ducking and covering, and how all the acting out in the 70s and 80s had to be understood in that context. Hell, my generation took all that post-Vietnam crap for granted. We lived with it. America had lost a war, and were were just like every one else. You guys had the best of everything! An idylic childhood in middle America, muscle cars and cheap gas, "free love" and no AIDS! But all of that came to an ugly end and you guys didn't take it well. Fine, but don't go into a rapture of nostalgia over it all and talk yourelf into voting for Obama. Dispite all the current hype, he is NOT the reincarnation of RFK. Camelot is dead and there's no going back.

Your generation, and maybe mine, will never get away from the 60s and 70s. It's our formative time. My folks grew up in the 20s and 30s. their decisions in life were made with the Depression and WW2 in mind. That's why the generations battled so much. They might as well have been born on different planets. That's natural. It doesn't make us special. Every generation goes through it, one way or the other.

Mushy said...

Thanks for pointing that typo out!

Camelot was my state of mind...not what they lived or the country lived, it was a peaceful state of mind I had during the time and I was proud of was leading us then and how America was and what it stood for...that's all. The word just describes my feelings at the time and it all died and I haven't been the same since.

Scott from Oregon said...

I think three listens to "Bye Bye Miss American Pie" in a row might settle your stomach a bit.

I was born in '63 so I can't say I knew John F. very well.

My Mum likes to wax on about those days. We left the country at the end of 63 and came back (to San Francisco, no less) to watch a mind fuck explosion taking place in '67 and '68...

The trouble with we Americans, is that we want a figure to lead us. The other trouble is that we can't seem to get any more than just about half of everybody to agree on who that should be.

The Constitution was written and this country was founded on the idea that government should be small and only do specific things.

We grant the guys in charge more and more power and control and now look at us...

We watch the race for president as if a savior is coming, if we would all just vote for him (or her). We have cult of personality disease and Barack just fits right into that affliction with his empty rhetoric.

The idea that a god chooses or directs the machinations of mankind is really quite ludicrous. It is an old idea, predating any of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic faiths. To please this invisible being, people would kill the children of other tribes or the livestock or virgin daughters of their own.

At what point in our culture do we admit how silly this all is to ourselves?

We need the federal government to shrink in size by about two thirds of its current size. We need more local control of everything problematic to us.

Mushy said...

Scott I totally agree with your overall premise, but I do like the "old ideas" know that...we've hashed that out before.

Outside that, you and I aren't that much different.

Thanks for you comments...I'm always pleased when you visit.

Buck said...

Woah! (Not Whoa!) I think you need to step back a bit and think on it a lil bit more, Mushy.

Things are bad. Things are always bad, have always been bad, will always BE bad, if you listen to the doomsayers, which is what our media are, primarily. I don't think stuff is nearly as bad as our pundits would have us believe, but they have a vested interest in ensuring we believe what they tell us, nu?

I tend to agree with Jeff. While there is some (albeit very little) merit to the "everything changed in the '60s meme," I think it's waaay overblown. Things changed in the '20s, too. But that generation is dead and gone, and the Boomers are still with us... so we hear Boomer complaints instead of 20's-era geezer rants about how automobiles destroyed the fabric of society and how the Great Depression changed everything. Just more water over the proverbial dam, or under that proverbial bridge... take your pick.

And to a lesser or greater extent, I didn't drink the Camelot Kool-Aid. JFK was just another pol to me, and not a particularly good one, at that. Following on... I was well and truly shocked... no other word fits... when Challenger & Columbia blew up, when our diplomats were taken hostage in Tehran, and by the events of 9-11. Each of those events were bona-fide catastrophes and we had every tight to be shocked. We should have been shocked. Most all of us were, in fact.

I suppose you could invoke that ol' "if you can keep your head when others around you are losing theirs... then you don't understand the situation." saw. That may or may not be true. But I think we're no worse off than we've ever been, and in most respects we're a whole helluva lot better off... especially compared to any other nation on earth. ANY other nation, period.

And let me echo Jeff yet again: you're not working yourself up to vote for Barack, now, are ya? That's OK if it's true, coz that's your right. But I submit there is a much better choice to be had. And a much less dangerous choice to our over-all well being. I ain't quite ready for the "change" Mr. Obama has in mind.

Just sayin'! ;-)

Great post... and it should generate a lot of conversation. I'm hoping it does.

Mushy said...

I thought I'd have a lot more comments on this by now, but guess not. However, I do appreciate Jeff, Scott, and Buck's comments...very good all.

However, I failed in my attempt at explaining my feelings of the time. I was not a Democrat, it wasn't particularly Jack, it was just a rose colored view I had of the world at 17 years old, and my innocence was shattered when those I admired around me fell, and when my world burned around me.

I am not preparing to vote for Obama, although a better choice than Hillary, but I do not see a great leader in McCain either. Frankly I'm stumped and undecided.

Sarge Charlie said...

This is an excellent post my friend, and the comments are a different prospective, I lived it, I felt it, I cried about it, maybe I am stuck in American Pie but some things just never go away.
You know my political leanings, I am not bashful about expressing my feelings. I fear the train wreck we are headed for with the reincarnation of JFK. Obama, I knew JFK, and you ain't no JFK.

Buck said...

I thought I'd have a lot more comments on this by now, but guess not.

Strange how that works, innit? On the one hand, I believe most folks are too polite to contradict their host, and observe the "if you can't say anything nice..." rule. OTOH, I have NO idea what generates the most comments. None at all. Some lightweight stuff I consider filler gets a lot of comments, other stuff I've worked on for literally hours passes by with nary a peep.

Keeps life interesting, I suppose!

Mushy said...

Yeah Buck, I agree...I just post hoping for other posts aren't gospel, and I've got the lock on mistakes.

I try and pull it out by asking questions, but, like you say, I think some are afraid of hurting my feelings. You can't hurt my feelings...but you might change my opinion!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

It's all good bro. Nothin' wrong with a dream. It's a beautiful dream. I'm just too cynical to dream like that.

Mushy said...

The dream no longer exist...that's my point.

Rachelle said...

Wow Mushy,
I came back just in time to read one of the best posts I've ever read.
That was awesome, and very well said- straight from the heart.
Thank you so much for sharing that with us.
Whether we feel the same way or not, it was well thought out, and well worded.

I don't know the answer to your questions, I was a Romney supporter, and now I feel like my rug has been pulled out.
Frustrating as all get out, and unfortunately, I don't see a bright light at the end of this election tunnel...

Best wishes to you,

DirtCrashr said...

If I listen to "By-By Miss American Pie" one more time let alone three times I'm gonna ralph.
Obama isn't in-or-of the 60's, he's a post-Nationalist, beyond boarders kinda guy. But if you take a look at what his "Patriot Corporation Act" proposes as far as establishing a regulatory framework for government-corporate "partnerships" you're back to the 30's - and it probably sounds better in the native Italian or German - it's practically a textbook definition of the economics of National Socialism.

BTW just finished reading Founding Brothers about the generation that fought and founded the nation in 1776 (by Joseph Ellis), and was staggered by the amount of sheer duplicity that took place - Jefferson undercutting Adams and spreading false stories and the rest. What lead to the Burr-Hamilton duel. Hell, the "State Department" at the time was already busy undermining the Administration - just like it does today. The main thrust being that there has always been competing visions of and about the intent of the Revolutionary outcomes, and some very nasty behavior - including freakin' Moonbats!!

Mushy said...

Rachelle - Well, I finally succeed in getting some comments and they were all great. I didn't even want people to agree...just listen and then give me their feelings...and I did...finally! BTW, I love all your hairy babies! Wish I had one!

Dirtcrashr - Wonderful's been a while since I've seen you around these parts. Thanks for giving me those bits of history...I'll have to check that out.

Debbie said...

You stirred up a hornet's nest. I think maybe some people are misunderstanding, maybe not.

I remember when JFK was killed. We all sat in front of the TV and we were all disgusted. Why? Because everybody voted for JFK? NO. Because he was the PRESIDENT. Because back then we respected the office, we respected the challenges that he faced and how he dealt with them. It didn't matter if he was Democrat or Republican, he was the PRESIDENT.

Not so any more, the US is divided, and it is UGLY. Just read far Right and far Left blogs and websites. There is NO respect for the office any more. In some ranks there doesn't seem to be any respect for the US, for the Flag, for the military.

It started back in the late 60's and has gradually gotten worse.

I graduated from high school in 1969, I had friends in Viet Nam, some came home, some did not, some died, some were never the same.

I think we are entering a new era now, and I have no idea what the result in the future will be.

I think the pendulum is swinging back now, not to the 60's, but to the basic beliefs that some of us had in the 60's and early 70's.

I foresee big changes in the political climate in the coming years. Our children and grandchildren may be looking back and talking about the years 2008, 2010, 2012, and hopefully they will think we did the right think. I pray that is so.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Debbie said...

Oops, that should have said "hopefully they will think we did the right THING" Sorry.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Mushy said...

Thanks Debbie for understanding my point!

I sure hope you are right in your prediction...we'll see.

pat houseworth said...

Great post Mushy...and the comments are outstanding.

JFK? I was a Nixon kid...
MLK? I lived in an all white town, and really didn't get worked up about it
Bobby? I was still a Nixon fan.

Too bad they got offed, and I remember where I was when I heard the news for all 3.

1968? 6 months of sewing my wild oats before joining the Air Force...6 months getting my 'sea legs'

Obama is far more dangerous than Hillary, and I fear for our freedoms if either get elected....having said that, I don't think I can vote for McCain either.....our country, guns, and free speech will be at risk, whichever gets elected.

But Hell, I could just be one paranoid dude.

Mushy said...

So, who we votin' for Pat?

pat houseworth said...

Hell if I 1976 when it was the RINO Jerry Ford against the Peanut Head Jummy Karter, I voted for Gus Hall, the Commie Canidate, just for a ruse.

This year, I'll vote, but it may again be 3rd party or a write in...say Donald Duck for President....still got Congress and the school levy on the ballot.

Mushy said...

That'll work!

Suldog said...

I've been a Ron Paul supporter for some time. Still am, even though he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning. Chances of winning never enter into my head when I vote, though. I vote for the man or woman who most closely follows my own thinking. I'm a fiscal conservative, but I'm a liberal (in the classical sense of the word, not the crapheads around today) on social issues, so Paul's it, for me. Your mileage may vary.

Kuanyin said...

Ron Paul for me too! His chances of winning will require a miracle, but miracles happen every day. :-)

Mushy said...

Don't forget to vote in my poll in the sidebar.

BRUNO said...

Well, I ain't got nothin' to say, that everyone else hasn't already covered. And, like you, when it comes to politics, that's one subject I am not familiar enough with to even fake an educated response to!

I don't know, either. Maybe I should follow Pats' lead, and write-in a vote for Alfred E. Neumann...?