Posted By RichC on June 27, 2015
Read ONLY if you don’t’ mind getting lost in the weeds. I felt bit lost in my own country after the Supreme Court decisions this week and am concerned for the future. As a Christian, I’m trying to looking past my own traditional value and faith-based Biblical beliefs which have long been part of our country and hoping that there will be positives that I currently don’t see. Perhaps reflecting on previous generations will help?
I remember watching my grandparent’s utter disgust as they watched the boomer generation coming of age in the 1960s and early 70s. They were not unlike today’s “me” concerned with the changes they were seeing. In 1967 and ‘68 they feared the spread of racially charged firebombings in their neighborhood … during and after the Detriot riots. The rioters were discontented with the slow pace of peaceful change and charismatic leaders/groups convinced blacks to take a violent path; protests turn to burning homes and businesses … eerily similar to 2015 in Ferguson and Baltimore?
For me and many, the Martin Luther King Jr. nonviolent civil disobedience made a lasting impression that peaceful protesting will win over hearts and minds in a way that force and violence can never accomplish (did the Black community lose than lesson?)
The anti-police movement in urban cities, the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore do more to further the divide and anger. The same for calling for the “forced” elimination of the Confederate flag; it only inflamed those from the south who see it as a symbol (both good and bad) of their history and pride. Most have put slavery, segregation and discrimination in the past and receiving yet another jab has them reviving their defenses. It may be counter productive?
This look back at history also has me wondering about my past and my grandparents … and parents; would they be seen at racist? From my recollection they didn’t seem to be racist “before” the riots and burning. They were for the most part accepting the peaceful change and integration (of course we were in the north, it could have been a more challenging situation below the Mason-Dixon Line). After the riots, they were definitely less comfortable around the young black bereted “colored people” (their term of that day). As far as I know (around me) their race thoughts were kept private, but “having prejudice thoughts” wouldn’t really have surprised me since many immigrants of their generation already segregated themselves by nationality anyway.
What I really noticed (as I was getting older) was the disrespect many rebellious youths had for their elders (it went both ways, but the general expectation was to respect your elders – that was missing). The “long haired, grungy hippies” who protested our government in the unpopular Vietnam War were vocal and they were definitely disliked by my veteran grandfather (and veteran father) who had both been drafted and served. The only thing worse to them were the “communist cop haters” willing to kill and blow up “pigs” as this self proclaimed “New Left” movement turned their protest violent (WUO). Besides the blatant activists, there were the more obvious but steady social changes disagreed with by grandparents and parents: There was the “free love” anti-marriage and woman’s liberation movement and all were counter to the modus operandi and values assumed sacred by the prior generation (again … not unlike today with open homosexuality and marriage approval). Slurry this 1960 counter-culture with the with the growing use of “dope” — as they called marijuana and drugs — and the future of our country looked bleak. We watched it played out every evening on the latest news delivery technology … the black and white picture tube (TV). This over saturation “for the time” reminds me of today’s computers, Internet, social networks and all our mobile devices oversaturation the news and opinions elevating the temperature until thing boil over). But it is what it is … we are the ones who need to adapt to the fire hose of information and opinion.