Joe Nation
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 08:57 pm
The opening line of my profile is: "First, I was a hippie. I danced whether there was music or not."
I know now, having spent most of today thinking about this, and remembering all kinds of things, that that's not entirely true. There were some lives before being a hippie and here they are:
First, there was Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse and Estes Kefauver.

The year was 1956 and I wanted to watch the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, but the Democratic National Convention was on every channel. (All three of them.) People were yelling about votes, and the great State of Blah, Blah. I was pissed and I told my mother so. She said "Maybe you should watch, you'll learn something."

I was nine. I watched. I learned that politics involved adults acting oddly and that Estes Kefauver was a name that was an awful lot of fun to shout out loud. Pretty confusing though, Davy Crockett, another Disney character who was appearing on TV on Sunday nights also wore the same hat as Estes Kefauver. My uncle Marty, the first adult who ever took me seriously, explained that Davy and Estes were both from Tennesse, but Estes was just using the hat to get votes. That was my first inking that politicians would do stuff to get votes. I had a Davy Crockett hat, but I was for Dwight David Eisenhower because I thought it was fun to say "I like Ike." (I still have some of the campaign buttons.)

Talk at our dinner table, we were five kids and Mom and Pop, always involved the news. We got three newspapers a day at our door; in the morning, the Hartford Courant, (pronounced Current) and in the afternoons, the Hartford Times and our hometown, Manchester Herald. My parents, after the meal was done and the coffee was on, would read through the afternoon papers and comment on whatever it was they found. My sisters and brother , the older ones and I, were all allowed to chime in and talk. (The youngest boy. five years younger than me, was pulling his own weight when he reached the age of nine or so.) There is no greater lure into reading than having the people you love do it with you.

Now it was 1957, things were happening. There was talk about another steel strike. Pop was worried, he worked for Hamilton Standard Aircraft and the plant had had to shut down a few years before for several weeks of strike. He blamed the Democrats. My mother was a thick Irish Catholic Massachusetts Democrat and always put up a good argument. There had been no pay, she said, because there was no union. I was ten. These words flew around my head like birds. (The strike, btw, came not long after, seemed to last a long time and my father joined the union.)

I read all three papers everyday. I did. I loved to read. It was around about that time that I got in trouble for just walking out of school and going over the library, sitting there and reading. School was terriffically boring and I wanted to read all of the biographies. I think I read them all and all of the Hardy Boys books.

Three things then happened at about the same time: I read the biography of Booker T. Washington, I watched on TV as firehoses were used against black people who trying to register to vote and my sister's friends began to come over to our house to sing and play guitars. Now, in our family, we sang all the time. My mother loved it. The sisters and I (not really much of a voice on the brother who ended up a priest. He's much better now.) sang three part harmony while we did the dishes, we sang along with the radio and on the frozen pond down the hill at Center Springs. With the group at the house, we sang folk songs.

I'm eleven. I'm singing songs about coal miners, mighty hard roads and "Which side are you on, boys?" I bought my first guitar. $11.00!! And every day in the newspapers, there was something else being said about the situation in the South that my mother saw as no different than the way the Catholics were being treated in Northern Ireland. I sang a lot of "Foggy Dew" and other songs about various people going to the gallows bravely. My Protestant father with the British name would grimly read the sports section in search of Boston Red Sox victories. So, in that respect, we were all on the side of the underdogs of this life.

And that's where I've stayed all these years, on the side of the underdog. In Catholic schools, where I was a trial to the faith and perseverance of all the Sisters, the phrase "Whatsosever you do to the least of my breathren, you do unto me." rang out to me like Jefferson's firebell in the night**.

In America, at least for the past hundred years, it has been the Progressive Liberals who have led the way towards increasing the most power to the most people. I can remember when there were such people in both of the major parties. So I stood with them and marched with them and sang with them.

And that's when I became a hippie.

Joe(and began the dance I'm still dancing)Nation

(For those who aren't familiar with the tale: Thomas Jefferson is supposedly quoted as saying that when he realized he had written the US Constitution without delineating a Bill of Rights, the danger to the Republic rang out to him like a firebell in the night.)
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 09:52 pm
@Joe Nation,
What a thoughtful & detailed post, Joe.
Your recollections of your "turning point moments", from way back, is pretty amazing. Wow, what a memory you have!
That was a wonderful read. Thank you.

Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 09:57 pm
You could but you can't just do it on a whim. The process takes several weeks so you have to register to the party a couple of months ahead of the primary.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 10:52 pm
This is what I meant to say, Joe.

Your recollections of your "turning point moments", from way back, are pretty amazing.

Don't know what's wrong with me today. Duh. Neutral
0 Replies
Joe Nation
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:02 am
I sent my post to a friend of mine whom I've known a long time and he said "You dope, you skipped the Sixties!!"

I replied :"Na, I was already there, my twig was already bent by 1960. All of the horrors of that decade made me even more convinced that those on the right understood that what they were doing undermined the American ideal of Freedom, but that they continued on, in a campaign of fear, hypocrisy and intimidation, in order to preserve, not the nation, but their cravenly held power."

Joe(who wouldn't want to oppose them?)Nation

Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:35 am
@Joe Nation,
How lovely that music, such open-hearted self-expression punctuated your zeal for the way social life was unfolding around you. This was wonderful to read...and hugs to your parents...where ever they may be.
0 Replies
Bi-Polar Bear
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 05:04 pm
I remember vaguely my mother talking about Little Rock and what a wise man Eisenhower was.... I didn't understand of course, being very young.... but I read the speech now and I sadly note the difference between that republican and what the republican party has become.

Dwight D. Eisenhower's Little Rock Response
Good Evening, My Fellow Citizens: " For a few minutes this evening I want to speak to you about the serious situation that has arisen in Little Rock. To make this talk I have come to the President's office in the White House. I could have spoken from Rhode Island, where I have been staying recently, but I felt that, in speaking from the house of Lincoln, of Jackson and of Wilson, my words would better convey both the sadness I feel in the action I was compelled today to take and the firmness with which I intend to pursue this course until the orders of the Federal Court at Little Rock can be executed without unlawful interference.
In that city, under the leadership of demagogic extremists, disorderly mobs have deliberately prevented the carrying out of proper orders from a Federal Court. Local authorities have not eliminated that violent opposition and, under the law, I yesterday issued a Proclamation calling upon the mob to disperse.

This morning the mob again gathered in front of the Central High School of Little Rock, obviously for the purpose of again preventing the carrying out of the Court's order relating to the admission of Negro children to that school.

Whenever normal agencies prove inadequate to the task and it becomes necessary for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to use its powers and authority to uphold Federal Courts, the President's responsibility is inescapable. In accordance with that responsibility, I have today issued an Executive Order directing the use of troops under Federal authority to aid in the execution of Federal law at Little Rock, Arkansas. This became necessary when my Proclamation of yesterday was not observed, and the obstruction of justice still continues.

It is important that the reasons for my action be understood by all our citizens. As you know, the Supreme Court of the United States has decided that separate public educational facilities for the races are inherently unequal and therefore compulsory school segregation laws are unconstitutional.

Our personal opinions about the decision have no bearing on the matter of enforcement; the responsibility and authority of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution are very clear. Local Federal Courts were instructed by the Supreme Court to issue such orders and decrees as might be necessary to achieve admission to public schools without regard to race-and with all deliberate speed.

During the past several years, many communities in our Southern States have instituted public school plans for gradual progress in the enrollment and attendance of school children of all races in order to bring themselves into compliance with the law of the land.

They thus demonstrated to the world that we are a nation in which laws, not men, are supreme.

I regret to say that this truth - the cornerstone of our liberties - was not observed in this instance.

It was my hope that this localized situation would be brought under control by city and State authorities. If the use of local police powers had been sufficient, our traditional method of leaving the problems in those hands would have been pursued. But when large gatherings of obstructionists made it impossible for the decrees of the Court to be carried out, both the law and the national interest demanded that the President take action.

Here is the sequence of events in the development of the Little Rock school case.

In May of 1955, the Little Rock School Board approved a moderate plan for the gradual desegregation of the public schools in that city. It provided that a start toward integration would be made at the present term in the high school, and that the plan would be in full operation by 1963. Here I might say that in a number of communities in Arkansas integration in the schools has already started and without violence of any kind. Now this Little Rock plan was challenged in the courts by some who believed that the period of time as proposed in the plan was too long.

The United States Court at Little Rock, which has supervisory responsibility under the law for the plan of desegregation in the public schools, dismissed the challenge, thus approving a gradual rather than an abrupt change from the existing system. The court found that the school board had acted in good faith in planning for a public school system free from racial discrimination.

Since that time, the court has on three separate occasions issued orders directing that the plan be carried out. All persons were instructed to refrain from interfering with the efforts of the school board to comply with the law.

Proper and sensible observance of the law then demanded the respectful obedience which the nation has a right to expect from all its people. This, unfortunately, has not been the case at Little Rock. Certain misguided persons, many of them imported into Little Rock by agitators, have insisted upon defying the law and have sought to bring it into disrepute. The orders of the court have thus been frustrated.

The very basis of our individual rights and freedoms rests upon the certainty that the President and the Executive Branch of Government will support and insure the carrying out of the decisions of the Federal Courts, even, when necessary with all the means at the President's command.

Unless the President did so, anarchy would result.

There would be no security for any except that which each one of us could provide for himself.

The interest of the nation in the proper fulfillment of the law's requirements cannot yield to opposition and demonstrations by some few persons.

Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts.

Now, let me make it very clear that Federal troops are not being used to relieve local and state authorities of their primary duty to preserve the peace and order of the community. Nor are the troops there for the purpose of taking over the responsibility of the School Board and the other responsible local officials in running Central High School. The running of our school system and the maintenance of peace and order in each of our States are strictly local affairs and the Federal Government does not interfere except in a very few special cases and when requested by one of the several States. In the present case the troops are there, pursuant to law, solely for the purpose of preventing interference with the orders of the Court.

The proper use of the powers of the Executive Branch to enforce the orders of a Federal Court is limited to extraordinary and compelling circumstances. Manifestly, such an extreme situation has been created in Little Rock. This challenge must be met and with such measures as will preserve to the people as a whole their lawfully-protected rights in a climate permitting their free and fair exercise. The overwhelming majority of our people in every section of the country are united in their respect for observance of the law - even in those cases where they may disagree with that law.

They deplore the call of extremists to violence.

The decision of the Supreme Court concerning school integration, of course, affects the South more seriously than it does other sections of the country. In that region I have many warm friends, some of them in the city of Little Rock. I have deemed it a great personal privilege to spend in our Southland tours of duty while in the military service and enjoyable recreational periods since that time.

So from intimate personal knowledge, I know that the overwhelming majority of the people in the South including those of Arkansas and of Little Rock - are of good will, united in their efforts to preserve and respect the law even when they disagree with it.

They do not sympathize with mob rule. They, like the rest of our nation, have proved in two great wars their readiness to sacrifice for America.

A foundation of our American way of life is our national respect for law.

In the South, as elsewhere, citizens are keenly aware of the tremendous disservice that has been done to the people of Arkansas in the eyes of the nation, and that has been done to the nation in the eyes of the world.

At a time when we face grave situations abroad because of the hatred that Communism bears toward a system of government based on human rights, it would be difficult to exaggerate the harm that is being done to the prestige and influence, and indeed to the safety, of our nation and the world.

Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation. We are portrayed as a violator of those standards of conduct which the peoples of the world united to proclaim in the Charter of the United Nations. There they affirmed "faith in fundamental human rights" and "in dignity and worth of the human person" and they did so "without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion."

And so, with deep confidence, I call upon the citizens of the State of Arkansas to assist in bringing to an immediate end all interference with the law and its processes. If resistance to the Federal Court orders ceases at once, the further presence of Federal troops will be unnecessary and the City of Little Rock will return to its normal habits of peace and order and a blot upon the fair name and high honor of our nation in the world will be removed.

Thus will be restored the image of America and of all its parts as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Good night, and thank you very much.

September 24, 1957
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 06:06 pm
@Bi-Polar Bear,
Thank you for that, Bear.

(A bit of a history lesson (for me) as much as anything else.)
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 07:13 pm
For my own information, I've searched around for more information on Eisenhower's role in the Little Rock segregation issue, following Bear's post. An informative YouTube clip, for any of you who might also be interested in knowing more.:

0 Replies
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 08:06 pm
During the 60's we (my age group) were all home with toddlers, babies, asking ourselves "who am I?". Heavy reader that I always was, I started reading stuff like: The Greening of America, Without Jews and Jesus, Yoga. Betty Freidan and the other lady with the long red hair who rode motorcycles. Started wearing wonderful clothes and lotza love beads. The New York Times's front cover said "Is God Dead?" Couples getting divorces, having affairs. We just all wanted LOOSE from it all, whatever it all was. Tried to shock those of US who stayed on the side of THE ESTABLISHMENT.

Went to college in early 70's, with the babyboomers. Studied impeachment in Gov'ment class as the real Nixon was discovered. Chummed around with kids much younger, helped them with their lessons, gave some of them shoes (young girl came to classes in snowy weather in flipflops) took biology class with young black girls studying nursing, laughed & laughed, had a roaring good time. Became a hell raising democrat liberal. Sat in classes with Vietnam vets who they told stories of being forced on helicopters and pushed out over those terrible forests, burning, when they refused to fight.

Got my first newspaper reporter job later in 70's, and our project for an entire year was interviewing high school students, attending seminars where anti-drug activists yelled & screamed at the students, students in turn brought all their drug paraphenalia and dumped it on the floor of the gym. Did this in 3 towns. Mostly, the kids would say things like "Oh, nobody does drugs here, that's just the burn-outs." Well, no, our town's only pediatrician's son overdosed and died. So, I became a republican for a while, fighting the damn drugs that were being sold to our kids. All the while though I'm fighting for all underdogs because that's what reporters do - as well as learning politics from the bottom up. My youngest son was wearing a jean jacket that said, This Jacket is Made of Pure Green ****. Second son wore the same military jacket for months, refused to wash his hair. Crazy, confusing times.

Intermingled in all the above were the different presidents, the murders. Sometimes I voted democrat, sometimes republican. I still do that.

So, out of all the chaos, came what? That is a whole different question, and I have faith that something new and better will come out of the chaos of today.

Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 08:25 pm
Thank you, Pemerson. That was a terrific read!
(My goodness, what you haven't done, where you haven't been! Smile )
I love that you're always the optimist. (And maybe you're right?)
0 Replies
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 08:31 pm
This thread (for me, anyway) is like the gift that keeps on giving. Smile
I think it's finished & all over & done with ... then out of the blue comes yet another detailed, thoughtful post.

And each time I think: "How very, very interesting!" Smile

A thought: Wouldn't it be good to hear from some Brits? (noticeably absent.) I would love to hear from them as well.
0 Replies
mark mori
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 06:46 pm
You might be interested to know that the Emmy Award winning documentary, "Kent State, The Day the War Cam Home" is being released on DVD for the upcoming 40th anniversary. In its review of the program, The Hollywood Reporter stated, "This extraordinary hour long doc is so good, so well constructed, that it can't help but leave viewers feeling as if they themselves were on the bloody scene of the Kent State carnage..." for more go to

Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 06:50 pm
@mark mori,
Hello, mark. I don't think I've met you before. If you're a new member, welcome. Smile

I'll be very interested in seeing that documentary.

Were you a student at the time of Kent State?
0 Replies
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 08:50 am
Having been born in 1947 and having grown up during the end of the Roman Catholic liberal/leftist era (which began with Dorothy Day and probably ended with the Vietnam War's ending) and reading novels like On The Beach/1984/Animal Farm it was difficult not to be at least politically aware if not involved.

While my HS did not offer a public speaking class, we could take an evening class in speaking offered by Catholic Action. This group did not promote Catholicism but rather liberalism as social justice.

The Civil Rights Movement, MLK, Freedom Summer . . . all were big generational personalities and events, particularly since I lived in Detroit.

Just as the Women's Suffrage Movement and Abolitionism were linked in the 19th C, Civil Rights and the Anti-War Movement were linked in the late-20th C.

I have always been an environmentalist. My parents took us to nature centers. Separating this sort of early wildlife education from the environment is impossible and irrational.
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 09:03 am
I tend to take the long view of history and can not get over the fact that American conservatism was the force that created and extended slavery . . . that de facto slavery continued long after de jure slavery ended (Slavery By Another Name by Douglas Blackmon).

I see the concept of personal liberty as a smokescreen. The great liberal issues of the 19th C were Women's Suffrage and Abolitionism and I see the philosophy behind those issues and the laws that derived from them as the source of personal freedom. Without law to protect personal freedom, personal freedom can not exist for long.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 09:07 am
Tore my republican family to shreds when I got envolved with the civil rights movement and democratic party. I won't tell you what they called me. It was quite racist.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 01:55 am
While my HS did not offer a public speaking class, we could take an evening class in speaking offered by Catholic Action. This group did not promote Catholicism but rather liberalism as social justice.

Interesting, POM.
I've seen a similar push of social justice issues driven by churches in my own country (Australia). It is not at all unusual for church groups & "political activists" to share the very same platforms for reform. Though I doubt there was nearly so much common ground around the time you're referring to. A more recent development here.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 02:37 am
@Joe Nation,
Joe Nation wrote:
I sent my post to a friend of mine whom I've known a long time and he said "You dope, you skipped the Sixties!!"

I replied :"Na, I was already there, my twig was already bent by 1960. All of the horrors of that decade made me even more convinced that those on the right understood that what they were doing undermined the American ideal of Freedom, but that they continued on, in a campaign of fear, hypocrisy and intimidation, in order to preserve, not the nation, but their cravenly held power."

Joe(who wouldn't want to oppose them?)Nation
Well, (answering your question) who woud not want to oppose them was ME.
I was them since I argued with Comrade Murray, my next-door nabor in the 1940s,
who boasted of his Comrade Stalin in the Workers' Paradise.
Subsequently, the only time I was hypocritical was when I was spying on the commies,
faking that I was one of them. As someone on the right, I never "understood that what they were doing
undermined the American ideal of Freedom" and I still do not.

Om SIG (pleased to answer your inquiry) David

Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 02:57 am

From the initial post here:
I don’t know if there’ll be much response to a question like this, but I’m a curious person so I’m asking anyway .....

By politicized I mean : politically aware or active. What caused you to become politically aware or active?

Was it a particular event that influenced you? A positive or negative response to the event?
Maybe you inherited your politics from your family?
Media influence, perhaps?
Maybe you read a really persuasive book which gave you an awareness you didn't have before, say like Silent Spring, years ago.
Or ....?

I’m asking this question of A2Kers of all political persuasion, left, right & “other”.

Could I ask that we not bash others for their “wrong” political views, please? Otherwise people may be discouraged from participating.
0 Replies

Related Topics

Obama '08? - Discussion by sozobe
Let's get rid of the Electoral College - Discussion by Robert Gentel
McCain's VP: - Discussion by Cycloptichorn
Food Stamp Turkeys - Discussion by H2O MAN
The 2008 Democrat Convention - Discussion by Lash
McCain is blowing his election chances. - Discussion by McGentrix
Snowdon is a dummy - Discussion by cicerone imposter
GAFFNEY: Whose side is Obama on? - Discussion by gungasnake
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 12/05/2021 at 01:48:29