As one born in the (late) 50s I am a child of the 60s. I remember the hippies. At one point I even considered myself among their ranks. I wore tie dye and elephant bells and my hair all the way down. I hated Nixon because all my friends did. I repeated 'Tricky Nicky' and 'Phase 4, Phase Out Nixon' and all the rest. I have since reconsidered my opinions about President Nixon but that is for another day.
Since the election the question for conservatives keeps being asked. What now? My answer? Bring back the hippie movement.
Consider where we as conservatives are right now. In the 60s the counter culture movement was pretty unpopular. Republicans and conservatism, while feeling heat, were still ascendant. Nixon won in 68, defeating the Democrat Humphrey who was nominated because Johnson surely saw the writing on the wall and declined to be crushed in a bid for re-election. In later decades Nixon's disgrace still only resulted in one term for Carter. Then Reagan twice and Bush senior. In the 60s and 70's and well into the 80s Republicans and conservatives were 'The Man'. Hippies protested and sat in and generally fought against the Establishment. They preached Free Love and Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out. They burned their draft cards and bras and sometimes whole city blocks. The rioted and planted bombs and killed people.
Well, now they got what they always wanted. Now they're 'The Man' with all that entails. Now we're in the same position they were in the 60s. On the outside looking in. At least to an extent. Lest anyone forget, the election was very close and the GOP still maintains control of the House and with it the nation's checkbook. Now is the time to do to them what they once did to us.
The Tea Party movement was a nice start but we need to take things to the next level. The Tea Party has allowed itself to be controlled and manipulated by the GOP old guard. Their fire and passion squelched by a slate of RINO candidates and the age old choice of either staying home or holding our noses and voting for the least objectionable ticket. It's time for the Tea Party to morph into Tea Party Hippies.
The hippie movement was true grassroots. Oh, we can discuss and argue on who the movements organizers, financiers and provocateurs were but the sandals on the ground were disaffected people who were agitating for political and social change. Obama himself used that very idea to propel him into office the first time. Hope and Change, a true hippie sentiment. It was enough to overcome a disastrous economy, failed foreign policy and a weak GOP candidate for a second term. The 1960s hippies are alive and well and they and their ideological offspring are voting in large numbers.
But politics are cyclical as Roosevelt through Bush II has showed us. At one time the accepted understanding of the American political electorate was a preference for a Democrat House and a Republican President. That has now changed and the potential for the election of a King every 4 years is very real. Whether that president has a D or an R beside their name it's a frightening thought. Hippies may be the answer.
Oh, I don't mean dirty, stinking flag burning hippies singing bad folk songs and smoking dope in the back of a crapped out van. That's the liberal hippie but there's no reason why they get to define what a hippie is and isn't. It's part and parcel of refusing to let the liberals and the media (but I repeat myself) define things. The Tea Party are just as much hippies, in the truest sense of the word, as any bead wearing, patchouli smelling counter culture protestor in 1968. They just dress better, pick up after themselves and have to go to work on Monday morning. Those with limited political power protesting for greater freedom and more limited government influence in and power over their lives. That's all a hippie really is.
What they did was make themselves heard in every home in the country. Media conservatives (and there still were a few even then) talked about them in much the same way the modern liberal media talks about the Tea Party. Un American, violent and out of touch with the mainstream. But the hippie movement nonetheless touched something in the American psyche. They may have been dupes in the larger communist/statist move to change America fundamentally (sound familiar?) but they were also viewed as underdogs and as everyone knows Americans love an underdog. And they spoke some truths that we as conservatives would do well to understand. Less government intrusion and greater freedom. Yes, even now those who participated in the Love Ins may not realize that was what they were chafing for but it was. Conservative values.
So let's all become the hippies of the new millennium. 21st century counter culture protestors. The business suit and work clothes will become our tie dyed uniforms. The Town Hall our protest venue. Patriotic music our protest anthem. The media will cover our protests reflexively in the hope that we'll seem desperate and objectionable to society. But they will cover us and our message will resonate, especially as the economy tanks and the American Dream dims.
In 50 years the hippie movement went from Woodstock to the Whitehouse and political control of the country's future. Or maybe I should say potential control because nothing is forever. And the 'Liberal Man' had better remember that because now we're the hippies and we're just as angry and just as motivated as those who braved the water cannons and dogs way back then. And our contempt for 'The Man' is every bit as bitter and encompassing as any counter culture warrior of the 60s. We also understand what the stakes are and what the cost of failure is.
Using the opponents tactics against them is deliciously ironic and fills me with a soft, warm glow. I even saw a really cool VW van on E-Bay just the other day....
We're all hippies now.