The Ultimate High

I look into the night sky and now wonder if one of those bright lights is Timothy Leary. That late great icon of the 60's movement seems to have managed one last trip, higher then any before.

An event worth a chuckle, and perhaps a sigh, from the much spoke of, sometimes maligned, persistently aging, Baby Boomer generation.

"We ended the war, toppled two presidents, desegregated the South, broke other barriers of discrimination," 60's icon Tom Hayden told an interviewer in 1977. "How could we accomplish so much and have so little in the end?"

Now twenty years have passed since that lament was uttered and I, and others who's formative years were during the era of free love, war protests and black power, I ask myself, did we have so little in the end?

To today's younger generation it was a time of drug experimentation and sexual extravagance. The "me" generation rejecting authority in all its forms. But to me, to many my age, in my memory it was a time of high ideals and noble purpose. We strove to end war and to end poverty. We called for respect for all people and respect for the planet.

But culture has a lot of inertia, and as Tom Haden lamented, the end effect doesn't seem to be as dramatic as we had envisioned.

Social welfare systems changed, but poverty plague us. The Vietnam war ended, but war remains as prevalent in the world as ever it was. The south was desegregated, yet discrimination is still rampant. Farm workers unionized, but still struggle for safe working conditions and fair wages.

Did we win all those battles and still loose the war?

Ten years after Tom Hayden uttered his lament, national news declared the end of the "Baby Boomer Generation.", and his quote still echoed in my mind.

But, we are not dead yet. And, perhaps, it is too easy to loose sight of the victories in the face of unchanged everyday habits held up to the ideals of youth.

By Suli Marr