The self-indulgent 60’s continue
As the 60’s progressed the slide from optimism and strength to pessimism and weakness continued. The innocent longing of the Mamas and the Popas dipped precipitously to the sublime suspicion of Buffalo Springfield. The lyrics of their anthem captured the spirit of the 60’s. A spoiled generation who had never had to work for anything and for whom their parents had done everything possible to forget the hardships of war and the depression looked around at their world and rebelled- just because they could.
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
That was the 60’s. Don’t trust anyone over 30. Your parents were stupid, mind-numbed robots. America was dictatorial and limiting. Youth had the answers. Question authority!
It was seductive and exhilarating to be free from the burdens of obligation and duty to parents, God and country. Baby boomers discovered that like Peter Pan, they didn’t want to grow up and take on the the responsibilities their parents had shouldered in the 50’s. They never had to work for anything and now as they entered college, they weren’t about to start. The Vietnam War was a convenient catalyst and denying America’s virtues mad it easy to turn the war into imperialistic bluster. It was also inconvenient to interrupt the hedonistic college years with patriotic duty. The ‘Me’ generation took control and veered American onto the rocks.
Buffalo Springfield captured the pathetic self glorification of the 60’s. It was a seductive siren song which was hard to resist. Doing what you want and rejecting duty and honor was lifted to become noble sacrifice. It was a new world being created with no responsibilities. Even today as we struggle to right our country and restore its vision and leadership after the shipwreck of the 60’s, those songs still touch those same nerves as when I first heard them. I expect they do the same for anyone who lived during the 60’s. I remember how I felt the first time I heard Buffalo Springfield. There was something going on and it was our job to stop it. Those thoughts still tug at my being but now I keep those feelings carefully partitioned away from reality. I have a life to live and responsibilities to my children. I have to try to clean up the mess that we made.