Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Then and Now, it ain't the Same

Indeed, the sixties was a wild and wonderful time. A burgeoning youth movement, dubbed the counter culture, quite literally rocked the land. Stoned the land and raised questions. The answers to which, scared the hell out of the ruling establishment.

It is important to note that the big media, in spite of it’s pro-establishment bias, was not the controlled contrived thing it is today. The editors of Life and other mainstream publications found a constant source of material in the cultural/political experiments and conflicts of the day.

Alternative papers and magazines sprouted and a number were successful with wide circulation. The Alternative press gave a wider voice to the anti-war movement and helped to connect people of ideas. The important questions were repeatedly and loudly asked by the civil rights movement, by women, by the anti-war movement.

Ergo, the 1968 Democratic Convention and the violent police riots that ensued, were heavily covered. Those images exploded in the faces and into the consciousness of all Americans. Dangerous questions were being asked at work, at home and even hinted at on late night talk/variety shows.

Things are rather different this time around.

I confess; I believed if the numbers of people expected to demonstrate in New York actually showed up, it could do the same damage to the Republicans that it did to the Democrats, in ‘68.

Ha! Not even close. Three times as many arrests as ’68 and not even a ripple across the American brow. All matter of long standing arrest records were broken and almost no one seems to have noticed. Unprecedented numbers of people demonstrated opposition to the Bush administrations’ version of America. If you watch Fox, CNN, MS NBC, etc., it didn’t really happen. Did it??

I think the giant media no show, surprised most and disheartened a number of pro democracy supporters. A note of bitterness and cynicism has appeared on some of the discussion boards I lurk.

Things are different this time around. Some things remain the same but the power elite is much better organized than in the sixties and seventies. Media ownership is much more concentrated, as is editorial control. Gone are all but remnants of what was the ‘liberal media’.

The Christian Right, the rank and file foot soldiers of this authoritarian conquest of Democracy, are soaking up the Republican gospel via television ‘ministers’, Christian radio, and even the pulpits.

One might say President Bush has a Faith Initiative of his very own. That is to gain the unwavering political support of a significant trend in American Christianity.

The theological/political underwriters of this assault on the constitution, represented by the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, want Christians to see the geo/political/economic reality of the world in terms of a religious and spiritual struggle which can only be won by voting for George Bush. A man who believes he has a direct, unquestionable, private line to God.

The anti-democratic forces are rich, powerful, and well organized. While liberals and pro-democratic people have been sleeping at the wheel, since the end of the Vietnam debacle, the opposition has been plotting, planning, and preparing for this struggle.

In the sixties they merely defended their power and privilege. Hubris was their great weakness. Now, they are on the march and planning to end all questions regarding their right to absolute power.

We have a long way to go. Make no mistake, if Bush is defeated in the election, the battle will have just begun. If he wins, well, the battle has just begun.


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