Are We The New Beats Generation
In the summer of 1968 town of Chicago was preparing to host the Democratic National Convention. This particular event often rarely gets mentioned nowadays as this was the same year when Martin Luther King was assassinated. 1968 was marked by violence and unrest for many reasons including the assassination of Dr. King and the growing opposition of the war in Vietnam. This was the year when democrats lost the election following the unfortunate events during their convention. Democratic Party was deeply divided and after the loss they suffered that year, party was forced to change the way they selected the delegates, from the secretly held meetings between the powerful people and party leaders to a more open discourse in which public was allowed to participate. The reforms were lead by the senator George McGovern from South Dakota.
Democratic Party was the party that prior to 1968 supported segregation and the war in Vietnam. They supported slavery and only a small number of Democrats in congress supported passing of the 13th amendment that abolished slavery. Roots of the Democratic Party were not as open or liberal as they seem to be in 2016.
As an immigrant I am often baffled by the American history that I am learning about every day; little bits and pieces of information that I run into by reading a book or a magazine or watching a documentary. I am equally baffled by the fact that common Americans themselves do not know much about the issues that rocked the nation not so long ago. We are so focused on the current events and quick to cast judgment without really understanding underlying issues that lead to the present status.
2016 was marked by an upheaval within the Republican Party. It seems that the party was hijacked by someone who spoke the language that appealed to the masses who needed a change any type of a change. It all turned out, as we all know, pretty ugly and it seems that the party itself is divided now. Republican Party leaders should have recognized the signs early on. They should have seen the parallels between their convention this year and the democratic convention in 1968. The only thing different is that violence of 2016 seems to be vastly ignored by both parties, even though it is publicized widely in social media. Unrests we are seeing this year are lead by the black population in America protesting the police brutality and the murders of the black men who were unarmed at the time of their arrests or routine police stops. Police brutality in 1968 was well documented. Many young protesters and journalists were hurt and police showed no mercy when trying to control the crowds on the Michigan Avenue. Police now is seemingly more reasonable and with more sophisticated approaches to handle the crowds, still, we cannot lose a sight of what went on in 1968. It took years to correct the damage that was done and for people to gain trust in their government and the law enforcement. As a result of the events in 1968 people got Nixon and that did not end well.
We are facing the same dilemma now. Republicans need to take a good hard look at their party and see how they can align their goals to the goals and wishes of the new generation that is demanding paid family leave, equal rights for the persons of same sex, accountability for the politicians and inclusion of the members of different religions and those with other-than-white skin color. Republicans should learn from their Democratic counterparts and in order to become a viable party for the generations to come they should reconsider the policies they support (and I am not talking about the fiscal sector policies). Overwhelming majority of young people who demand more from their government, need more than just two choices, a Democratic party that thinks they are all the young people want and the Republican party that feels they have nothing to change to address issues the country is facing now.
Growing healthcare costs, middle class generation that is disappearing, black people that feel unsafe and forgotten, women who are tired of being underpaid, who frequently have to make a choice between their careers and families, aging population that feels they cannot afford to retire, are making it harder and harder for both parties to continue down the path they have been marching on for the past forty years. Families are struggling to keep up with spiraling increases in housing, healthcare and education for their children. Concept of middle-class is slowly disappearing. The support for the young generations must come from modern government policies, from inclusion laws and open-minded public opinions that will protect freedoms for all the citizens of the United States. We must acknowledge that the world has changed and we must change with the world.
1968 was not that long ago. Yes, this happened before I was born. This happened before many Americans were born, but it stands as a testament that the change is sometimes necessary and it is imperative that in order to move forward we must look back and acknowledge the mistakes that have been made and take steps to change policies and procedures to allow for meaningful progress to take place for the new generations.
Both parties must take a good hard look at what the majority of the people in America want and make necessary adjustments to their internal wiring and work on their outward image and project the voices of the new population of the United States. If the United States is to lead the world we must accept that the world consist of such diversity and also of poverty that needs to be eradicated.
This year I struggle to commit my support to either of the parties. If democrats allowed for Mr. Sanders to move forward they would have had my support, but the division within the Democratic Party and also the present state of the Republican Party are testaments that we have a lot more work to do.
Year is not 1968, but the wars we are waging today, both philosophical ones on our home soil and the real ones across the world are not so different from forty-eight years ago.