Bring back the hippies! You can see where letting conservatives bury our rebellious past got us. Hippies are the anti-Trump, and they’ve tried to beat us back for fifty years.
Tea party members, bigots, military-industrial complex weirdos, professional politicians and any variation on the species that thrives in a cool, humorless environment wishes the hippie movement dried up and blew away.
But it didn’t.
Excuse me. We didn’t.
Notes from a revolution: Besides the internet/computer revolution, our best, unknown contribution: Hippies saved physics.
To be a hippie was to be Hung Up On A Dream
Mass media raised a warped profile of the hippie movement in the 1960s. It helped deliver readers to advertisers by making the rebels clownish, less threatening.
They moved on when tall tales about the nonconformist, free-spirited consciousness movement no longer put cheeks in seats.
The media giants also worried that establishment power structures were being unsettled.
Folk and rock music played a soundtrack for the hippie movement. Voices grew louder as convictions increased, and there was a loop for every taste.
The song that touched me most was America, from Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends.
America carries the codes that made the hippie movement possible: alienation, feeling lost in your own country, yearning for something you can’t quite define, and those that made it so attractive: intimacy, brotherhood in nonconformity and love for the country we’d been taught about but couldn’t find.
‘”Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping. ‘I’m empty and aching, and I don’t know why.'”
What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?
Eager for a world of peace, love and understanding? Bring back the hippies…
A campaign to denigrate what we did to expand awareness, promote peace and love, and demolish institutional structures that protected endemic racism, sexism and class antagonism never ended.
“If you remember the 1960s, you weren’t there” is a viral phrase meant to make the hippie movement into a gaggle of drug addled weirdos who passed the decade in a haze of incoherence.
1968: The Hippie Movement Summer of Revolution
The famous Summer of Love was 1967, but the wave swept out of San Francisco. In Vietnam, the War claimed more lives, and domestic assassinations radically altered the political world.
Alternatives hippie lifestyles gathered followers.
In Won’t Get Fooled Again, from Who’s Next, the group sang,
“We’ll be marching in the streets, with our children at our feet,”
as militance gathered momentum.
In the Summer of ’68, staggered by the killings of both Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, insiders took chances.
We hit the streets, especially at the Republican Convention in Miami and the Democratic in Chicago.
But the reality of hippie life was different than that. That was marketing.
Hippies in the movement were apolitical. We were into peace, yes, but not in confrontations or according to party affiliations.
Love, freedom, mind expansion and alternative lifestyles were our direction, and we tried to reinvent or redefine all of them.
But I never knew a single hippie who wanted to scream about it. We did our thing in a quiet and mellow way.
Why Bring Back the Hippies?
Guess what? We changed the world, and you never knew it.
If you do an image search for a typical crowd scene in 1958 and another for 1968, you see a transformation.
Where did all the suits go?
Strident conservatives try to roll back all they can, but American racial and gender chemistry underwent changes more radical than any in history.
Career choices and opportunities for minorities and women exploded. There’s still too much inequality, but things are so much better.
What The Hippie Movement Changed
They were all friends of mine.
The military-industrial complex set up the power dream of a perpetual state of war to stimulate a robust economy, but the massive brutalities of another Vietnam were denied them.
The numb to the rest of the world American public still cares little about the suffering inflicted on civilians in other countries, but at least, the mass media shows some restraint from promoting war as entertainment.
Uptight morals that saturated culture before the 1960s have been pushed back to minority status.
Anti-abortionists, who really are more concerned about what women do with their bodies before they get pregnant than with the fetuses, continue to fight an unpopular battle.
Couples living together “without benefit of matrimony” are commonplace and so are interracial and same sex couples.
The social freedoms taken for granted today were won by the hippie movement and other initiatives we supported. If you think we lost or gave up, you haven’t been looking around much. The fact is, we won. With persistence. And we won quietly.
Bring Back the Hippies Today
It doesn’t really matter, does it, what we call it?
It’s easier to stay under the radar when you work anonymously on a better society. But we’re here.
Some of it is subtle, a peace symbol here, an institutional win for human rights (like the recently passed same sex marriage laws) there. We’re pushing.
In 2006, as George W. Bush came to New York City to be renominated, tens of thousands of us marched up Seventh Avenue to Madison Square Garden in protest. So many of us came out of hiding, we had to wait over an hour on the back end to begin walking.
True to form, the New York Times missed most of the story by getting it wrong, and the tactics of the Bloomberg’s police were trotted out to illegally blunt the protests. But there was power in brotherhood.
It was nice to feel that old camaraderie.
We were there, and we still are.