The events of the last few weeks make me feel like I'm living through a foggy, feverish flashback to the 1960s.
While listening to some music from my ancient past, I stumbled across Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," which hit #1 on the US charts in September of 1965.
1965 was quite a year. The first US combat troops landed in South Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson pushed his "Great Society" vision through Congress, which passed 84 of his 87 bills (!) including Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, the Voting Rights Act, immigration reform, education standards, consumer safety and environmental protection laws, and major infrastructure programs.
Dr. Martin Luther King was leading civil rights marches in Alabama, where the participants were attacked by both police and civilians. White supremacists beat to death a white Unitarian Universalist minister who was working to secure equal treatment of blacks.
The first manned flights of Project Gemini were launched as the US took its first steps toward landing on the Moon.
Flash forward 50 years. We're fighting over health care, education, immigration, economic and social inequality. Public schools, arts, and infrastructure programs are being eviscerated. Key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were struck down by the Supreme Court because, of course, discrimination isn't a problem any more, as evidenced by the fact that even corporations are people now.
It's been said the future ain't what it used to be. I really didn't think I'd have a personal jet pack in this second decade of the 21st century. But I also never thought I'd see the steady, deliberate dismantling of the social contract responsible for the progress made in the last half 20th century.
The first unmanned test of the Orion spacecraft was launched this week, as the United States took it first steps toward deep space travel and, perhaps, landing on Mars.
It reminded me of 1968- a really dreadful year, similar in tone to what's going on now. The only bright spot then was the success of the Apollo 8 mission, which orbited the moon in December of that year.
Everything else going on is some kind of perverse, inverted déjà vu.
Gore Vidal once called this country the United States of Amnesia because people have no memory of history- even recent history.
Wake up, people. Spend an afternoon reading what's been going on in this country since the 1980s.
And reflect that, with a few minor changes to remove explicit, then-contemporary references, this song is- sadly- as relevant now as it was then.
Categories: KGB Opinion