---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 13:04:02 -0700
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: The Age of Acquiescence
The Age of Acquiescence
June 26, 2002
By MAUREEN DOWD
WASHINGTON - A friend of mine over the weekend was recalling her days as an
idealistic child of the 60's. Students sitting around the dorm, amid the
water bongs, water beds, strobe lights and Che posters, listening to Led
Zeppelin and Dylan, dreaming about remaking the world in their own image,
trading nightmares about spying Big Brother and soul-robbing corporations.
"We thought America was being run by the corporate-military-industrial white
male power structure," she said. "We were certain there was a right-wing
conspiracy. We thought civil liberties and free speech were imperiled. We
were suspicious of rich people. We had reason to believe there was corporate
malfeasance and Wall Street was bad. We worried that the government was
backing coups in Latin America. We figured the administration wanted to
topple all the overwrought, self-appointed messiahs who didn't know how to
run their own little societies. We assumed that powerful people were rigging
elections. We feared there were people who wanted to blast roads through
forests and rip up the tundra."
She recalled all the old leftist tracts in the Nixon years about a secret
government plan to suspend the Constitution and declare a national security
emergency and round up people without charges, and that the oil companies
and banks would plunge us into nuclear war.
"And now," she concluded with a rueful smile, "all our worst paranoid
nightmares are coming true. We wake up in our 50's and our enemies from the
60's have crept back into power. And we were the empowerers, because we've
turned into the same selfish people we thought we were against. We forgot to
The times they ain't a-changin'. The passionate activists from the Age of
Aquarius have grown up to be the new Silent Majority.
"Our young hunches are now becoming mature realities," said Bobby Rush, the
Black Panther who became a Chicago Congressman. "Yet we are paralyzed in the
headlights. We don't know exactly how to react to the right wing trampling
our Constitution and dictating to the world who their leadership can be. The
American people have been scared beyond all imagination because of Sept. 11.
But now we are getting to the point where we can't use a library card
without opening ourselves up to Big Brother."
Ralph Nader said the phrase he coined in 1970, "corporate crime," is the new
catch phrase in business magazines.
Three and a half decades ago, the mantra among young people who railed
against capitalist pigs and government lies was "the fix is in."
"The fix is now institutionalized," Mr. Nader says. "When Congress won't
double the S.E.C. budget in the middle of a corporate crime wave, it shows
that the system is irreversibly decayed. As Brandeis said, we can have a
democratic society or we can have a concentration of great wealth in the
hands of a few, but we cannot have both."
Of course some Democrats regard Ralph Nader as part of the problem and not
part of the solution.
People used to be shocked when a member of an administration said that
what's good for General Motors is good for the United States. But with the
Bush administration, the sinful synchronicity of business and government is
just a day's work, and nobody is reeling from the spectacle.
Some convictions of the love-bead era have been turned on their heads. The
police are not regarded as "pigs" anymore. And, given their woeful
performance, the F.B.I. and C.I.A. are not seen as scarily omniscient
And it is not going to be so easy for women to get as much power and sexual
freedom as men. Alpha women, like Martha Stewart - who got rich being an
über-hausfrau, just the image women were running away from in the 60's - are
crashing and burning out every day.
Those who came of age in the 60's and lived through the plum decades of the
80's and 90's gave up a long time ago on John Lennon's wish that they could
"imagine no possessions . . . no need for greed or hunger in a brotherhood
of man." (Even Mr. Lennon, in the bosom of the Dakota, found his own fantasy
hard to live by.)
And now, faced with the evil of Osama bin Laden, they can no longer imagine
there's "nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too."
These utopian sentiments were buried in the rubble in Lower Manhattan.
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