Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mid Night Rider: Governor Ronald Reagan Versus The Hippies

Source: Mid Night Rider-
Source: Mid Night Rider: Governor Ronald Reagan Versus The Hippies

There's a lot about Ronald Reagan as a Liberal that I like and respect about his career and his politics. But even though he described his politics as libertarian as late as 1975 when he was already considering another run for President in 1976, there's one aspect about his career that I don't have much respect for. And thats what he thought and how he dealt with he Hippie Movement in the 1960s and 70s.

Ron Reagan  essentially treated Hippies as Socialists or Anarchists who were looking to take down America and create some type of a Socialist State or something when in actuality the opposite was true. Ron Reagan basically had this Father Knows Best 1950s view of what America was supposed to be. And anyone who went against that he sort of saw them as Communists working for Russia. Or something crazy like that.

The Hippies of the Boomer Generation were running away from the American establishment, that Ron Reagan was a product of and that was way too conservative for Hippies culturally, otherwise they wouldn't be Hippies. How many Hippies do you know who where suits and ties everywhere they go, as well as sweaters and walk around with pipes that they barley smoke. I mean, the only pipes that Hippies are familiar with have marijuana in them.

Hippies were looking for a new way to express themselves and live their own lives. And sure, there were probably Socialists in this faction, but there Socialists everywhere in America. Its just that a lot of them are still locked in the closet politically. There were also Hippies who believed that higher education should be free. But those people were also looking for the freedom to live their own lives and not have to conform with the establishment in America, with the old guard in this is how should live life and this is what it means to be an American. Even if that meant being labeled as Communists. But the thing you have know about communism is that Communists don't believe in individualism and the right for individuals to individually express themselves.

In the 1950s and even early 1960s, America was a very conservative society culturally. Sort of Phyllis Sclafly's fundamentalist Christian-Utopia of what she believed America is supposed to be.  Culturally there was this feeling that this is how Americans are supposed to live life and if you don't follow this way of life, there's something wrong with you and you are even Un-American. You should be locked away for being Un-American, whatever that is supposed to mean.

That started to changed when Jack Kennedy was elected President in 1960, became President in 1961 and boomers started college and discovered that the way their parents and grandparents lived didn't fit in with how they want to live and the people they were meeting high school and college. So they were different both culturally as well as politically as their parents and grandparents. And this scared people like Ronald Reagan and others who were from that generation or who were born during the depression and had a Leave it to Beaver view of America.

What we saw as a country in 1968 and after that, in the 1970s and even 1980s, was the backlash to what was going on in the 1960s. That the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s went too far and that the establishment needs to be back in control. Which is a big reason why Richard Nixon was elected President in 1968. Reelected in 1972 and one reason how Ron Reagan was elected President in 1980.