Recently I saw the movie Taking Woodstock. In many ways it was a fair depiction of the exuberance of the sixties.
Even though the war was going on, we were living in a society in which a good portion of youth were searching for something different and were trying to discover themselves. They were alienated from a system upon which they could have little effect- so they dropped out. Did a DIY (that is, do it yourself) and created their own realities.
Much of what we are still fighting for came out of the consciousness of that era. The universal human rights, the environmental movement, feminism, civil rights, disabled rights. Even though the U.S. was involved in a cruel war, there was hope of creating a better society and dragging the government along with it. Bob Dylan’s words “Come senators, congressmen/ Please heed the call/ Don’t stand in the doorway/ Don’t block up the hall/ For he that gets hurt/ Will be he who has stalled/ There’s a battle outside/ And it is ragin’/ It’ll soon shake your windows/ And rattle your walls/ For the times they are a-changin.” and that mood was in the air.
Something that isn’t mentioned in all of this is the cost of living. I worked part-time and shared a large apartment in New York City with two other people who also worked part time. Today it would take 4 people working full time to rent the same apartment. I had a friend who worked part time for a year and saved up enough money to travel around the world for six months, it just didn’t cost that much to live. It allowed the youth of that time a tremendous amount of freedom and experience and to get an education without coming out of college with a debt that will take years to pay.
This change is not incidental. It was created by a conspiracy of governmental statists and apprehensive capitalists. A survey was taken in 1969, the result of the study showed most people felt that their happiness was more important than their financial success. This sent shivers up the spines of the ruling classes who needed workers in the coal mine who were willing to claw their way up an economic ladder in order for them, the owners, to live a life of indolence and ease- and make no mistake about it, the rich don’t live the way most of us do. They live behind closed gates, enclosed communities, and they don’t want you to see it.
The statists were afraid of unbridled individualism- what if people started to actually think about their lives? It was ok to give them plenty when they were in their dream state in the fifties, but by the late sixties the demands were beginning to ferment. How do you get this genie back in the bottle? Starve it and put all the food in the bottle, it will go back. You don’t have to rub it 3 times.
You were probably wondering where marijuana comes into all this. Well, marijuana is the lubricant that allows the mind to journey, to think thoughts out of the set that was designed to reign us in. If you will, dream the impossible dream, to see new vistas beyond the immediate That’s what being a couch potato is all about. Isn’t it? That is why marijuana is such a priority in the criminal justice system and other government faculties.
Marijuana is a vaccination from oppression. The 1960s-80s Yippies had a sound bite about this, “when freedom is outlawed only outlaws will be free.” Perhaps more appropriate is Fat Freddie’s comment, “pot will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no pot.” Or maybe pot could stir the economy and spur new our dreams of freedom.