EMAIL PAGE FIFTEEN
COLUMN SEVENTY-FIVE, SEPTEMBER 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
BY MAUREEN DOWD
THE AGE OF ACQUIESENCE
NYTimes.com Article: The Age of Acquiesence
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 11:18:29 -0400 (EDT)
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June 26, 2002
The Age of Acquiescence
By MAUREEN DOWD
WASHINGTON?A friend of mine over the weekend was
recalling her days as an idealistic child of the 60's. Students sitting around
the dorm, amid the water bongs, water beds, strobe lights and Ch? posters,
listening to Led Zeppelin and Dylan, dreaming about remaking the world in their
own image, trading nightmares about spying Big Brother and soul-robbing
"We thought America was being run by the
corporate-military-industrial white male power structure," she said.
"We were certain there was a right-wing conspiracy. We thought civil
liberties and free speech were imperiled. We were suspicious of rich people. We
had reason to believe there was corporate malfeasance and Wall Street was bad.
We worried that the government was backing coups in Latin America. We figured
the administration wanted to topple all the overwrought, self-appointed messiahs
who didn't know how to run their own little societies. We assumed that powerful
people were rigging elections. We feared there were people who wanted to blast
roads through forests and rip up the tundra."
She recalled all the old leftist tracts in the Nixon years
about a secret government plan to suspend the Constitution and declare a
national security emergency and round up people without charges, and that the
oil companies and banks would plunge us into nuclear war.
"And now," she concluded with a rueful smile,
"all our worst paranoid nightmares are coming true. We wake up in our 50's
and our enemies from the 60's have crept back into power. And we were the
empowerers, because we've turned into the same selfish people we thought we were
against. We forgot to be suspicious."
The times they ain't a-changin'. The passionate activists
from the Age of Aquarius have grown up to be the new Silent Majority.
"Our young hunches are now becoming mature
realities," said Bobby Rush, the Black Panther who became a Chicago
Congressman. "Yet we are paralyzed in the headlights. We don't know exactly
how to react to the right wing trampling our Constitution and dictating to the
world who their leadership can be. The American people have been scared beyond
all imagination because of Sept. 11. But now we are getting to the point where
we can't use a library card without opening ourselves up to Big Brother."
Ralph Nader said the phrase he coined in 1970,
"corporate crime," is the new catch phrase in business magazines.
Three and a half decades ago, the mantra among young people
who railed against capitalist pigs and government lies was "the fix is
"The fix is now institutionalized," Mr. Nader
says. "When Congress won't double the S.E.C. budget in the middle of a
corporate crime wave, it shows that the system is irreversibly decayed. As
Brandeis said, we can have a democratic society or we can have a concentration
of great wealth in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both."
Of course some Democrats regard Ralph Nader as part of the
problem and not part of the solution.
People used to be shocked when a member of an
administration said that what's good for General Motors is good for the United
States. But with the Bush administration, the sinful synchronicity of business
and government is just a day's work, and nobody is reeling from the spectacle.
Some convictions of the love-bead era have been turned on
their heads. The police are not regarded as "pigs" anymore. And, given
their woeful performance, the F.B.I. and C.I.A. are not seen as scarily
And it is not going to be so easy for women to get as much
power and sexual freedom as men. Alpha women, like Martha Stewart?who got rich
being an "ber-hausfrau, just the image women were running away from in the
60's?are crashing and burning out every day.
Those who came of age in the 60's and lived through the
plum decades of the 80's and 90's gave up a long time ago on John Lennon's wish
that they could "imagine no possessions . . . no need for greed or hunger
in a brotherhood of man." (Even Mr. Lennon, in the bosom of the Dakota,
found his own fantasy hard to live by.)
And now, faced with the evil of Osama bin Laden, they can
no longer imagine there's "nothing to kill or die for, and no religion
These utopian sentiments were buried in the rubble in Lower Manhattan.
Copyright the New York Times ##
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