By the time I came of age—that is, in the mid-1970s—the countercultural glory of the 1960s had already crashed. The disastrous Rolling Stone Free-Concert at the Altamont Speedway in California signalled its end, hastened by drug-use and motorcycle gangs—initially two icons that fueled the magic of the 60s.

Cultural critics and historians may believe that the Woodstock festival personifies the heyday of the Counterculture. I thought it was a disaster. A mob of non-paying visitors shouted "Free music for the People!" and broke through the fence--using that silly slogan to avoid paying to attend the concert. They nearly bankrupted the concert's promoters. Bad drugs, bad food, mediocre music, and a "sea of mud"? Thank God, I wasn't there!

On the other hand, the movie Psych-out, filmed in 1968 and starring a young unknown named Jack Nicholson and the actress Susan Strasberg showcases the Counterculture close up. The movie takes place in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Fransisco and tells a basically tragic story of upper-middle-class white kids who put their souls on the line for an unsound lifestyle. Their bare feet on the hard, concrete pavement speak for the risks of that lifestyle.

In the same fit of nostalgia, I listened to the song "White Bird" by a 1960s folk-rock group with the curious name It's a Beautiful Day. "White Bird" implores upper middle-class white girls to escape the mindset, boredom, and suffocation of suburban America. "White bird must fly, or she will die." Some girls responded to the song and ran away to Haight-Ashbury.

Girls hitchhike on the streets of Haight-Ashbury. I think they want more than a ride.

They thought the answer to their boredom was to make themselves vulnerable to their surroundings and open themselves to new experiences. That the counterculture went down in infamy, that the real world of violent crime and unclean street-drugs hurt them, hurts me, too. A lot of haywire idealism—human losses in the peace-loving American culture. For nostalgia's sake, I post a snippet of Psych-out.

Five or six years ago, during Labor Day Weekend, I visited my favorite wine-shop, which hosted a wine-tasting event, with 1960s-era folk-music and refreshments. On the balcony outside, sixtyish-looking patrons with youthful spirits, dressed in shorts, colorful shirts, and straw hats, celebrated the end of another Summer. While the musicians took a break, I started hearing Dylan's "Outside the Gates of Eden" in my head. I've always heard music in my head—Dylan reviving me.

I looked at the well-to-do patrons and thought some of them must have embraced haywire idealism earlier in their lives, '60s marchers for one cause or another. I wondered if they had enough courage to embrace idealism again and engage in one more march. This time around, they would resolve the disunity in the nation. The Counterculture may be the only force that has experienced dissent first-hand, that can recall going against the grain.

I would like to revitalize the Counterculture, to give it a new mandate, and bring about the division of our disunited country, thus saving it from civil war and spiritual rot.


March 31, 2023

How Long Do Republicans Wait?

Americans who vote Republican have to remember that, for people who work for the Republican Party, it's just a job. They may like their jobs. Mostly they prefer to keep their jobs. They may share the Republican sentiment for free-market principles and military readiness; but when someone like me comes along and suggests that Republicans petition for a nation of their own, they worry about things like job-redundancy and relocations more than they do about Democrat big-government and peacenik sell-out.

March 23, 2023

Release Grand Ole Prometheus!

Left-wing trash-talking of the GOP represents a concerted campaign that should concern its leaders. The scathing rhetoric suggests that the trash-talking will not end until the Left can make the GOP the permanent minority-party, and silence or discredit its associated media-organs. Older Americans familiar with the Nazi-smearing of the Jews should note the similarities in the left-wing method. Neither the Republicans nor freedom-loving people of any stripe should ignore the potential threat that these smear-tactics represent.

March 21, 2023

Republicans: a New Start

The Republican Party has a few tasks it needs to undertake. It needs to examine the philosophy it claims to represent and to take stock of its future, and stop thinking in terms of personal rivalries. We have more on the line than just choosing candidates and securing a victory in future elections. The GOP needs to regain a corporate sense-of-self. How can we move forward when we have deep doubts about the game, the rules, and not least the players?

Lloyd Bowers

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