Fifty years ago this summer, the baby boomer generation went through its infamous Summer of Love. It was 1967 and anything seemed possible. Minds were being expanded with the use of LSD and Sgt. Pepper was in the air, along with a slew of other great music from the most classic of the classic rock bands. People advocated loving one another, not just physically but mentally and emotionally and anyway that was possible.
It sounds naive now but it felt possible in that long ago summer. I was a bit too young at 14 to appreciate it all but I was aware of it. In the words of Stephen Stills, “there’s something happenin’ here.” Really, there was.
I’ve been reading a lot about that year in a new book “In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea” by Danny Goldberg who argues the legacy of 1967 lives on today. I’m not so sure.
Fifty years after that glorious summer, the United States is about to go through what can only be described as the Summer of Hate. We’ve never been so polarized in this country. The president hates the press and the press hates him back. The left hates the right and the right hates the left. On and on it goes. I don’t have to tell you because, chances are, no matter what side you’re on, you are convinced you’re right and the other side is a bunch of numbskulls. There’s no room for compromise in anyone’s eyes.
To run a country, I heard someone say, you need to be elitist and intellectual but you also need to be populist, to be aware of what the working class cares about. I think that was true when this country was founded and for much of its history.
The elites cared about the working man. Today, that notion, it seems to me, has flown out the window. Sure the elite class cares about the poor but the working class? Fuck ’em, they voted for Trump. They’re ignorant. They’re racist. They deserve what they get.
I can’t say it’s a one way street. The working man (and yes, I’m using vast generalizations here to make a point), think the elites are full of hot air and feel their disregard. Ask Hillary if you don’t think that’s true. They knew all too well what she was saying when she called them “deplorables.”
Bottom line: it’s terribly sad and terrible for this country. What happened to the ideals of the Summer of Love? I’d rather be naive than cynical. How and why did we devolve into this Summer of Hate?