Tables have turned for '60s radicals


Reader James Beam contributes a useful perspective on the fate of Dan Rather, and more broadly, the 60s generation, which once exulted in challenging authority. With his permission, we excerpt:

My perspective as an elementary school student in the sixties, and son of a WWII vet, was that my older brothers' friends feared the draft and opposed the Vietnam war simply to save their own skin.  There was no initial clamor for high moral ground.  When protest groups formed that gave credence and vocabulary to their selfish fear, the deception began.  I recall laughing out loud when I first heard some protester say "don't trust anyone over thirty."  I knew they'd be thirty someday, but they never saw it.

They railed against "the establishment."  They hated it.  I heard it over and over.  It's safe to say everyone heard it.  They wanted to slow it with sit—ins or stop it with activism.  They hated that establishment would not listen to the alternative viewpoint of youth nor acknowledge changes to their post—Eisenhower world.  Protesters vowed to alter the world, and chose radical, chaotic methods to effect what change they could.  They shouted "power to the people" and "the whole world's watching," but my parents' generation didn't understand it.

Yet now the former protesters live multiple lies.  Because not only are they over thirty (or forty or fifty), but many who initially wanted to change the world have now become what they hated —— the stodgy "establishment".  Academia and the self—labelled mainstream press today refuses to listen to alternate opinions, nor accept changes to their rigid world view.  Today, the people — the citizenry — have the power to express their own opinions is the radical, chaotic realm of the internet.  But the generation of liberal reporter/observers and professor/understanders neither see nor understand what happened to them this week with Rathergate.

For this ignorance and hypocracy, I laugh.  At them.  Because after their years of observing technology develop while their font of new ideas ran dry, they never saw change coming.  And now the conservative blogosphere is the source of radical expressionism in the face of their social orthodoxy.