Alienation and protest (fwd)

Sat, 6 Jan 1996 13:33:37 -0500 (EST)

Sender: (Stu Shiffman and Andi Shechter)
Subject: Alienation and protest

>>Activists in the sixties often conflated their
>>own views on the war, racism and other matters into the argument that
>>government simply lacked all legitimate authority. This was, I think,
>>a view born of the frustration that "the people" for whom one spoke
>>seemed more often than not to be on the other side of the issues.
Interesting point, STeve. AFter a while, perhaps, it seemed that anti-war
sentiment, which was the sentiment of a lot of people, esp. as the Viet Nam
war went on, was being ignored by Washington. Nixon deliberately behaved
(or pretended to) as if he didn't care what the protestors thought. It's
not difficult to go from that to wondering if the government cares what you
think about _anything_. The despair grew, and no wonder. If, as some
folks were willing to do, you are willing to put your life, possibly your
career, college educaiton or whatever on the line to protest a war and
you're ignored, what about all the other issues? How can you feel like
anything you say will matter?

> What I'm really getting off on here is the claim that protestors in
>the '60s were a frustrated and alienated clique within a narrow sphere of
>the society. That argument is a recent construction in an era when
>uniformity and confomity masquerade as positive social and political
>attributes for the individual.
ANd it's about as legit as any "all the -blank- are -blank-. All veterans
are not bitter and dealing with post-traumatic stress. All politicians
aren't crooked. All anti-war protestors were not alienated. The
alienation did come, but later, don't you think? Most people who were
protesting the war from the early to later sixties - as folks protested and
fought racism - did so _out of a belief in the system_. Many of us felt we
could change things, we would be heard - that was what the democracy and
free speech we'd been taught about meant. (oo, sorry about the lack of
grammar in that last sentence.) The feeling of having a say and having an
impact and speaking out was out of a belief that it would work.
Andi Shechter