Those of you that are music fans will easily recall the "Summer of Love" in 1967 when bands like the Beatles produced landmark albums like Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heartclubs Band and the whole scene in San Francisco was something to behold. Psychedelia replaced the bubble gum pop of just a few years before and everything had to have a deeper meaning. So called hippies even believed they could have an effect on politics and society. The funny thing is that they did have an effect.
Fewer people are familiar with the "Summer of Hate" that proceeded the Summer of Love in 1976. The Psychedelic and easy folk sounds of the previous area were out and replaced with what would become heavy metal music. Fans did a lot less dancing in the park and lot more vandalism and just plain old-fashioned destruction. The Beatles were replaced with folks like Johnny Rotten, Syd Vicious, and the Sex Pistols. Fortunately, that revolution was short lived and we went to another era (disco) that most of us would like to forget.
If there was a Summer of Love in politics it would have to be the summer and fall of 2008. Even though there was conflict (just like the real summer of love) people focused on hope and change. The eventual result is what we have now, a Democratic president, Senate, and House of Representatives. The Democrats even managed a super majority in the Senate. They needed every last one of them to get cloture for the health care debate.
The Summer of Hate has been replaced by what we might call a Winter of Hate. Ironically, the causes of both are eerily similar. In the 1970s, the youth of America was moving out of a "We generation" and into what would become the "Me generation." Suddenly, banding together to get things done was the last of people's concerns. Now, it was time to get more for me me me me. That came full circle in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan seemingly promised everyone the life they saw on "The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Of course, for most of us that never happened.
In the meantime, conservatives have pulled off the greatest heist in modern history. Not only have they convinced a large number of people that Reagan didn't make their life worse, but that it would be better if we went back to those days. You remember those days, it was the days when the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and the middle class had their treadmill set on high. It was the days when the government regulations that kept everything running smoothly were thrown aside so big business could regulate itself.
Propaganda is a funny thing sometimes. People listen to it long enough and come to believe it. Not only that, but they accuse the other side of doing it. Think about how many times conservatives have compared Obama to Hitler or called him a fascist socialist. The fact that those two words don't go together is immaterial. The sad thing is that people don't remember that Hitler came to power because he was able to blame a group of people for the problems everyone was having.
Fast-forward to today and we see a conservative group blaming immigrants for stealing jobs, ACORN for stealing an election, and welfare recipients for driving Cadillacs and wearing Air Jordans. What do these people all have in common? Well, I'll let you figure that one out for yourself. It isn't much of a coincidence that the folks at the Tea Party events are 99 percent white. Most of these folks are blue collar types that have been screwed over by the conservative agenda for the past quarter century. Now, they are mad as heck and they aren't going to take it anymore. Unfortunately, they've been asleep since they voted in Reagan and don't realize he and his disciples are to blame.
Like the last summer of hate, we can hope this doesn't last long. We can also hope that the stars of this winter of hate (Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bauchman) have the same shelf life as Johnny Rotton, Syd Vicious, and The Sex Pistols. Somehow, I would compare them more with the Bay City Rollers. They seem to have the same seriousness and level of sophistication as that music. Just a quick message for the teabaggers that may be reading: as one of my old coaches said, when you point your finger at someone else, you have three pointed back at yourself. Study a little history before you bust that finger back out.