Draining The Swamp: Can We Recapture the Protest Spirit of the ‘60s?

Blood is red. It represents the fire and passion for life. Blood was being spent and wasted in Vietnam and Cambodia. Nixon’s illegal war, and now Kent State. Later, Jackson State. Blood for our beliefs. Now it was the time to right the wrongs—to try and make life light again. To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose…Turn! Turn! Turn! Written by Pete Seeger in the late fifties, from the Book of Ecclesiastes. Yes, we would turn to the new way. The times they are a-changin’.

When I look back on those times, I like to think we made a difference—and in some ways, we did. Others, not so much. Marijuana came into prominence back then. It became the symbol of our fight against authority. It was illegal, so we embraced it. By smoking, we were giving the bird to all those crusty old white men who made laws to only benefit themselves. Today, a handful of states have legalized the plant, and more are in line to follow. But there’s a storm on the horizon. A two-bit thieving dictator and his sewer rat cronies have taken over the swamp in a Russian-style coup, installing a white man’s Kleptocracy. Nothing is certain. Beware.

I believe Nixon’s war would have lasted a whole lot longer, had we not protested. We built a powerful movement, born out of the chaos of Vietnam and Civil Rights, starting in the sixties and snowballing into the seventies, before slowly petering out. People marched and demonstrated and changed history. Unfortunately, as always, more wars followed, and more after that—the cyclical nature of time. Wasteful, illegal wars. During the Regan era, the armed forces rehabilitated itself. Now it was stylish to join up. Be in the new, all-volunteer army—where everything was coming up roses, and the whole world loved you and your adventurous spirit. You could even get your college education for free after you got out—if you got out alive. High-gloss adverts of men and women in the army and loving it, played on TV, over and over, until you drooled.


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We live in not so dissimilar times now. Back then we had Nixon, a used car salesman. What you saw was what you got. A crook. Today we have Trump, a reality TV star masquerading as a Tsar, a lying, two-faced, one-eyed worm who cares only about his net worth. These men are two crooked peas in the twisted pod of politics, with the same fascist, authoritarian smiles plastered on their pasty faces. Sellers of snake oil. Sellers of lies. Sellers of just about anything that’s bad for you. In the beginning, Nixon did just enough to stay legal, until he strayed to the other side and opened up the can of worms that became Watergate. Couldn’t help himself. Trump has already strayed, early and often. He stole the presidency and will sell the white House to the highest bidder, including Putin, if he gets the chance. He could have easily uttered Nixon’s remark, I’m not a crook. Yeah. Go ahead, believe him at your own peril.

Problem is, while the mindless clusterfuck of uninformed dumbshits are taken in by Trump, the mainstream press stands idly by. Too often they mince words, failing to call out Trump as he should be called out—as a pathological, swamp-ridden liar. On the scarce occasions Trump does squirm, he tells us it’s a disputed fact—more of his lies. But the dickheads hear the word “fact,” and they start to wonder. Hmm, could it be true? They get confused, too lazy to seek out the truth when it’s slapping them right in the face. They believe what they want to believe, led down the primrose path, while Trump giddy-ups all the way to the bank. Trump wins. Democracy loses.

True, there is a small chorus of dissenting voices trying to rally the troops into meaningful resistance. But there is no mass movement rising up to hold Trump accountable, or drum him out of office. The demonstrations at the Democratic Convention in 1968 effectively sealed President Johnson’s fate. He decided not to run for a second term. Unfortunately, this opened up the gates to the barbarians carrying Tricky Dick in on their spineless shoulders.

Seems there’s no fire or passion for a real fight. Not yet, anyway. The only place I see it happening now is in the Dakotas, where, thank God, the Standing Rock Tribe is leading the protest against the Keystone Pipeline, which was just approved by chief bilge rat himself. Maybe we do need another unpopular war to sink our teeth into. Then we can get out into the streets again, like we did in the sixties—get fired up, and take this country back from those that have taken it from us. Time is, indeed, circular. And change doesn’t come easy. But it does come around to bite you. Blood is red, and it will be spilled.

 

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