Tom Hanks “The Sixties” CNN #7
The Times They Are A Changin’

The Times They Are A Changin’ is a line from Bob Dylan’s hand, and it was the most undeniable pronouncement of the 1960s in a time of many statements. Women wanted change to control their own lives and reproductive organs, alternative minorities wanted respect enough to be paid for their labors, gay people wanted to live without fear, and revolutionaries wanted the freedom that our founding fathers gave to them.

The ‘60s movements toward women’s rights, Latino and Native American rights, gay rights, and the rights of all the disenfranchised, were pivotal struggles for freedom that demanded a moral side to change. In this, the ninth of ten segments of CNNs THE SIXTIES, the producers dug deeply into the counterculture intellect. Helen Gurley Brown, Todd Gitlin, Barney Frank and Gloria Steinem---these people are not just historians; they are the history makers. It is right and good for participants to become the storytellers if they do so with humility and objectivity.

When you look at the opening graphics of the CNN series THE SIXTIES, you will see all of the symbols of that period of time. That graphic era, the pictures spoke volumes—the fallen president and martyred leaders, the Viet Nam cloud of napalm, the peace symbol, the contraceptive pill dispenser, the unrest and the euphoria.

Those of us who ignore the 1960s will miss the story of the natural evolution of mankind. As the world grows smaller and more crowded, we should not fail to change for the future. We cannot keep making the same mistakes, or we will die!

Can we even conceive of future without knowledge of our past? Do we need a history to know who and where we are? The lack of factual history is a dumbing down of our culture!

The question that keeps coming to me in all history I read or view is what was the right thing for those people to have done? What was the truth, or what was the righteous move? What could have made the future, our present, better by their doing? What made our present day worse because it was done?

In looking back at history, the right attitude or the wrong decision that was made is often apparent. But at the time, usually in the heat of the event or the ignorance of the moment, the perpetrators did not see fault or repercussions to their actions! Only a better understanding of how history works will keep us from making those mistakes again and becoming the assholes reviled by the next generations!

History is a truth that we cannot deny, unless egos are used and lies told!

John McCleary, Author of The Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia of The 1960s and 1970s

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