Great dialogue, all!
I was born in 1946 and my wife in 1945, and as for political roots, she
comes from a background of rural religious pacifism (Church of the Brethren)
and I from a liberal, 2nd generation Jewish, urban, Democrat family. During
WWII, her father, as many coal miners were, was exempted from military
service to stay and work in that essential war-time industry. My father
served in the Army in Asia.
My question to the list is why being a toddler DURING the war would shape
one's behavior differently than being a "boomer" whose parents served in the
military, bought into the war-time political/patriotic ethos and returned
home to live it out? I think drawing the divide at 1945-46 may be too
useful in providing insight into 1960-70s activist styles and behavior. As a
Vietnam war resister of the 60s who chose prison, I and many of my
like-minded friends--male and female--often talked about the differences
between those who were active because of their commitmant and participation
in a "counter culture" and those (a minority, I am afraid) who saw the
period as an opportunity for organizing on behalf of lasting political
change in the U.S.
I join the chorus welcoming the list back.
From: Christine Kingsley [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2000 8:23 PM
Subject: [sixties-l] World War II Babies
As a W,W,II baby and a red diaper baby, I felt like an anomaly as an
activist in the late 60's and early 70's mostly. (before them i was
rasing babies, but that's another story.) I didn't run into too many my
age. Most of my friends were 7-10 years younger.
But recently i had an experience that might be of interest. I do
diversity/sensitivity training and was hired by the Racine Police
Dept.(Racine, WI.) to give a workshop for all of their officers- 300
Anyway, I found that their response was definitely by age: the most
progressive group were baby boomers, followed by some of the young
officers maybe, 22-27, but the other half of this age group acted almost
completely disinterested and apolitical. But the worst group, those men
who openly scoffed or ridiculed me and my message were mostly officers of
my own age group, over 55. Didn't do much for confidence in my age
One last thing-I agree with what Marty had to say about our patriotism
and our greater sense of hope and of perhaps a more conservative social
agenda. .I do think there is a difference in how you see the world if you
were born pror to or during WWII. For some of us, that difference was
still expressed in radical politics but sadly, for most of my generation,
it seems to be expressed conservatively.
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