Activism and the Nineteen-Sixties - Essay Example

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The author of the paper "Activism and the Nineteen-Sixties" will begin with the statement that reflecting on the 1960s, one’s thoughts are immediately diverted to the large-scale war protests, particularly those that occurred on university campuses…
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Activism and the Nineteen-Sixties
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Download file to see previous pages The older generation, the ‘establishment’, was of the WWII period and operated under a nationalistic perspective.  They believed that to be a true patriot was to blindly follow the authority of the governmental powers that be, to support your ‘country’ even when you thought it was wrong.  The young college protesters, the ‘new generation’, the counter-culture redefined this notion of patriotism. They believed that to be truly patriotic was to question the decisions of government and openly dissent when it was judged to be wrong. The philosophical chasm was wide and emotions ran deep on both sides.
Those that protested sacrificed much. They suffered the scorn of their parents who couldn’t understand why their children were rebelling against the very foundation of their parents’ beliefs thus causing what was referred to as the ‘generation gap.’ Some war protesters were killed by soldiers of the National Guard as was the case at Kent State and South Carolina State. The protesters and draft-dodgers were thought of as anti-American by the mainstream citizenry who regarded their actions as nothing short of treasonous. This attitude makes one wonder what the ‘greatest generation’ thought they were fighting for during WWII. They fought to defend freedom on foreign soil but were very much opposed to the constitutionally guaranteed right to peacefully assemble in their own country.
The war protesters of the 1960s had the courage to act upon their political and philosophical convictions unlike those who are opposed to the Iraq War today. The two conflicts are eerily similar on many fronts yet the public reaction has been very dissimilar. Then as now, those opposed to the war are characterized as unpatriotic or as not supporting the troops, both of which, of course, is patently ridiculous concepts. The major difference is that the draft personalized the conflict for many more Americans. More families had a personal stake in the Vietnam War as opposed to the war in Iraq which only affects a small segment of the population.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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