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Rads, by Tom Bates

- Abstract

Among the many changes ushered in by the election of Bill Clinton has been a rather dramatic shift in America’s political culture. This is most apparent in the palpable nostalgia for the values, causes, personalities, and even the drugs of the 1960′s. Hippie garb has made a comeback as high fashion; the children of the Berrigans, Kunstlers, and Cleavers have been featured on the style pages of major newspapers; the memoirs of former Black Panthers have received respectful reviews, their authors treated as serious leaders of the struggle for racial equality; and marijuana and, to a lesser degree, LSD have won renewed popularity.

The 60′s nostalgists themselves are not members of a younger generation in search of causes and commitments, but the men and women who actually lived through those years. Many of them are bitter about the scorn in which their youthful “idealism” was held during the era of conservative political ascendancy, and are now determined to recast the image of the 60′s as a time of high principles, dedication to change, and fun.

About the Author

Arch Puddington is director of research at Freedom House and the author, most recently, of Lane Kirkland: Champion of American Labor.