Is Barack the one we have been waiting for? Or is it the other way around? Are we the people we have been waiting for? Barack Obama is giving voice and space to an awakening beyond his wildest expectations, a social force that may lead him far beyond his modest policy agenda.
For a Boomer like me, following the threads of the Obama movement is like a flashback from a bad 60s drug trip — an old, unwelcome nightmare.
Whether it’s Billy Ayers or Bernadine Dohrn, Tom Hayden or Jane Fonda, or any of the other lesser-knowns, 60s Marxist radicals are lining up behind Obama.
Obama’s young worshippers think they see something altogether new, a unique persona, seemingly magically transported to this moment in history to help them finally be the ones to net the elusive butterflyof socialism’s never-realized promise.
The kids think they see something new. But do they?
Sixties’ radicals see their as yet unfulfilled yearning for socialist utopia in a well-groomed, glittery, establishment-approved package.
The college kids today, flocking to Obama rallies, don’t look much like we did, with our tie-dyed shirts and frayed bellbottoms, our waist-length hair or wild Afros. And they seem to see Obama as the antithesis of 60s’ madness, with a been-there-done-that-want-something-new kind of thirst, a quest for which youth has always been known.
Obama is clean-cut. He talks unity, not subversion. He promises equal outcomes without resorting to violence to get them. He endorses marriage and fidelity for himself, without condeming other lifestyle choices. He speaks in highbrow English, rather than the 60s revolutionary slogans:
Kill the Pigs Smash Monogamy Violence is as American as cherry pie If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down
Obama’s followers make high-tech videos, mindlessly chanting, “Yes, we can” instead of making bombs to blow up government buildings, or holding up armored trucks and killing police officers.
This new generation seems to have the opportunity to do now with mere votes what their predecessors tried and failed to do through violence. We can finally seal the deal on the real revolution — democratically. Obama, the Closer, is at hand.
Evidenced by his list of supporters, from Ayers Dohrn, Hayden and Fonda, to the New Black Panthers, the New SDS, the New Winter Soldiers, et al., the radical Left has anointed Obama as the One. Every aging, anti-war, anti-capitalist group and their new offshoots are flocking around Obama like moths to a flame.
He is the One they’ve been waiting for. Biding their time during the dark, dreary days of Reagan, throughout the self-absorbed Boomer years, into the Yuppie sellout decade, and on through the compromising Clinton years, they’ve waited and planned and hoped.
To these rabid Marxist radicals, Obama is the One, because he’s probably their last chance to see socialism triumph on our own soil. They have grasped the reality of their own mortality.
And this could be very bad news for America. Who, in his right mind, really wants anything these radicals were peddling?
The Revolutionary (and Generational) Vanguard An odd fact often gets lost in 60s mythology: the key Marxist radicals of those days were not themselves Baby Boomers.
Billy Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, of Weatherman infamy, were both born during WWII, barely missing the Boomer cut-off of 1946. Tom Hayden of the Chicago Seven, later a far-left California politician who was married briefly to Hanoi Jane Fonda, was born in 1939. Every single one of the Chicago Seven, in fact, known for their Days of Rage at the Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968, were pre-Boomers.
The leaders of all the Marxist student groups of the 60s were either Red Diaper Babies or upper-crust white kids born during or shortly before WWII. For them, the time was ripe for revolution in America, brought on by the convergence of post-war prosperity (they were spoiled rotten), a new war on foreign soil (Vietnam) and forced conscription (the draft). And the white radicals were able to latch on to MLK’s nonviolent successes in the civil rights movement, as opportunistic hangers-on.
In truth, the genuine Marxist revolutionaries of that era mightily disdain the Boomers for our mostly short-lived flirtation with their ways, means, and mantras. They thought that we were the ones they had been waiting for; but we copped out.
In fact, we grew up — and remembered how great America is. They still haven’t. And they hate us for it.