Often derided, even today, the hippies of our youth were mostly right. Hippies were a wake up call to America. Before you eye-roll, give it a little thought.
The Archie Bunker view of a hippie was dirty, sex-crazed, drug user, draft-dodging, bomb-throwing, lazy, degenerates. In reality, some were, but most were not; that is an unfair generalization. Like saying anyone over age 30 was a war-loving, uptight, primitive redneck. Some were, but not all. What we had was “Failure to communicate,” a clash of generations and perspectives.
Did the younger and older generations hold different values? Sometimes. There were differences on race, equality, the environment, money and morality. Do children accept or reject their parents values and beliefs? In the 1960s, more young people were questioning and abandoning what their parents believed or taught. Acceptance was no longer automatic. Not everything parents offered was bad, sometimes it was the delivery method, other times kids had to figure it out on their own.
Hippie was a general term, and a derogatory one, for any young person testing out their freedoms using having a different perspective. The term was applied to Vietnam protesters, musicians, alternative lifestyles, drug users, criminals and those worshipping other religions. A hippie was a person with long hair, very casual clothing and a relaxed and open attitude. I can see where that might be intimidating and bring down western civilization.
The hippie culture is not unique to the late 1960s. It had the most notoriety then, but it has survived and thrived. Descendants of hippie culture don’t necessarily have long hair (especially older men) or wear tie dye t-shirts, and say, “Wow, man!”
Reformed and descendants of hippie mediate, do yoga, recycle, appreciate casual Fridays, wear Birkenstock sandals, support the medical use of marijuana, buy tickets to classic rock concerts, are worried about climate change, support LGBTQ and have a diverse set of friends. They probably marched or wanted to show their support for equality.
Old hippies are in their 60s and 70s, and probably watch the stock market and are worried about affording retirement. Aren’t we all?
The influence of hippies on current music, fashion and social equity is unmistakable. It’s no longer about stereotypes of long hair, bell bottoms or peace sign jewelry. It might now be applied to those with tattoos, earrings, beards, and followers of hip hop or indie rock.
It is not necessary to stage a bed-in, wear flowers in your hair, drop acid, live in a commune or drive a psychedelic school bus. Old hippies run successful businesses, teach, serve on elected bodies, manage wealth and are medical professionals. They walk among us like “normal” people, because they are.
The world has changed. Those throwing bombs and a true threat to democracy are from the other end of the spectrum, those not preaching peace, but those armed with assault weapons, organized to take back the country, and falsely protecting the constitution. Peace, man.