Saturday, January 24, 2009

Remember Those Fabulous Sixties?

First off, I’ve been accused of being a bit overly curmudgeonly lately. Let me say right now that I consider myself as passionate an Obama supporter as anyone out there. If I’ve come across as too cynical, that wasn’t my intent. So far, he’s done a terrific job, and I see no indication of it stopping anytime soon.

The only thing I worry about is complacency. We liberals are, on the whole, a lazy bunch. That’s because we tend to be a reasonable, rational, live-and-let-live bunch. We’re tolerant. That’s our biggest problem. We win a victory -- Roe v. Wade, for example -- and the tendency is to say, “Okay, that’s done.”

Except that it isn’t, of course. Because liberals have no lunatic fringe.

‘Twern’t always that way. Remember the Weather Underground? The Symbionese Liberation Army? The Chicago Seven?

I am by no means waxing nostalgic for those thrilling days of yesteryear, fashionable though it may be to do so. But let’s face it, folks -- civil disobedience does get noticed. The Far Right won’t stop demanding that abortion rights be denied women, won’t stop lobbying for creation mythology to be taught in schools, won’t stop verbally attacking the new President any way they can. We can’t afford complacency. We can’t sit back and say “Everything’s hunky-dory now.” Because it isn’t.

We have a minimum of four years.


Menduir said...

Odd timing, you mentioning the Sixties. I just finished reading your friend Steve Perry's book, Windowpane, about a guy trying to restore the spirit of the Sixties.

I guess the question of how far the tolerant should go in defense against the intolerant is always a difficult one. By definition, the tolerant ones accept that others have a right to their viewpoints, even if those others do not allow us the same rights.

An example which springs to mind is the Red Scare of the Fifties. "Are you a member of the Communist Party?" If you're tolerant, the answer doesn't matter. If you're intolerant, you listen to McCarthy. If you're a communist who wants to overthrow the USA, you're a hypocrite who wants the tolerant viewpoint to rule until you get into power, and then you'll destroy them. And if you're an idealistic communist who wants the downtrodden to have a better life at the expense of people who can afford it, you're caught in the political crossfire.

How can one become militantly tolerant ("I'm tolerant and you will be too, or else.")?

~ Jas.

Steve Perry said...

Pah, you've always been an old curmudgeon, even when you were a young curmudgeon ...

Michael said...