The Sixties Seekers Essay

1018 words - 5 pages

The Sixties were a time of major change in United States society. We had reached beyond modernity with technology, consumerism, and the youth leading us to the suburbs of discontent. According to Hugh Heclo, “There came surge of personal discontent and social self-questioning that would constitute the great awakening of the 1960s.” He goes on to argue that people no longer accepted the status quo and from the counter culture groups we have studied in class this is evident. People were more concerned with morals and institutional openness in order to create a better vision of the world than the traditional ideals of the Cold War era. Heclos’ main argument is that this vision is the legacy of ...view middle of the document...

The group did not engage a large following, but their attitudes and tactics can still be seen today. As Heclo states, “New struggles were deemed necessary to free people from isolated, oppressed lives lived under the spell of coercive elites in a bureaucratized, mass society.” These were reasonably affluent people rising up, not minorities or people in poverty, they deeply felt that the way things were was wrong. The culmination of their actions is when they elected a pig to the presidency. They searched for the ugliest pig they could find and argued he was no worse than the other candidates, saying, “Who was a greater put on, Pigasus or McCarthy?” This caused a media frenzy that put attention on them, but not always in a way that was conducive to their efforts. As Heclo states, “Generally these groups soon faded away, either into the mists of counterculture spontaneity and mind-trips or into the bomb smoke of vulgar Marxist anarchism” This proved true for Yippees as they did not last long, with Jerry Rubin selling out to become a successful businessman and Abbie Hoffman committing suicide. However, they did have a lasting effect today with shows like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. Also the popular musical Rent has a similar against the man attitude; especially in the song La vie Boheme. The Yippies left a legacy of questioning and making a mockery of the system of post modernity in the name of freedom to do and be whatever you want.
Next, the Students for a Democratic Society, who represent the “new left” work to make the government responsive and assessable to the citizens it presides over. They were more willing than the Yippies to work within the system to improve it. The leaders Mario Savio and Tom Hayden “moved actively and directly against racial injustices, the threat of war, violations of individual rights of conscience and, less frequently against economic manipulation.” Students were discontented with the system created in the Cold War and were unafraid...

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