An open letter to my daughter concerning the election and the feelings she’s having now about the future of the nation.
I’ve seen this all before, all of us old-timers have. Think back to all the old shows you’ve seen from the 40’s and 50’s. The all-white shows like Leave it to Beaver, The Ricky Nelson Show, Have Gun Will Travel, etc. The only minorities you would see were in servant roles (Bonanza’s Hop Sing), or entertainment roles (black musicians or dancers); and the only role for a woman was in the home. But the women roles were changing even then, but really only for white women.
Then the 60’s happened. The progressives and conservatives were at each other’s throats; blacks against whites, feminists against chauvinists. If you have time, look up and watch some of the movies from that time period that addressed the real problems: Easy Rider, Joe, Hair, To Kill a Mockingbird, Guess who’s Coming to Dinner, etc.
There was great anger against the establishment. There were years of protests, families broke up over it; people were leaving the country or being arrested and sent to jail. Look up the Ohio State shooting. YouTube has many protest videos from the 60’s. Watching them will help you understand the feelings you’re having now watching this all unfold.
We oldsters may romanticize it, but was not a pleasant time. It’s where the whole “hippie” movement started which was all about dropping out, refusing the draft, and leaving the establishment behind. It was about free expression of speech and ideas (yes, like burning the flag) and minority rights.
But then look at the 1970’s. It was a time of great healing; a time of progress (and bad clothes.). It was also a time where you saw great advances in women’s and minority rights, and inclusion in the workplace, entertainment, science and medicine, which has been going on ever since, until now. But that’s been 50 years of progress. Fifty years before the conservative/progressive pendulum has swung back to the right.
So, now is your time. You’ll be telling your grandchildren about this struggle. DO take to the streets, but do it peacefully. You are not responsible for the actions of the conservatives who may verbally and sometimes physically abuse you. Stay strong. Keep your eyes on the goal. Remember the examples of Dr. King, of Gandhi. You know what you want America to be and you, the new generation, can make that happen. We oldsters will be by your side, but it’s your energy and your determination that will carry the day. Remember, the rest of the world did not change with this election; and in congress, only the majority has changed, you still have many stalwart allies there. Dr. King said “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
This is YOUR 60’s. This is going to be a hard struggle, but progressives will carry the day. We have to. The human rights of individuals the world over depend on it, and they will be fighting with you.
The sword is forged in fire. You will be too.