Hindsight has judged Woodstock well, especially against the bilious contrast of today’s gun wielding protesters at town halls meetings.
“Where have all the flower children gone?” one might ask.
Well, reading the myriad 40th anniversary Woodstock rememberances, it would seem that many of them are sitting in front of computer screens and writing. And, just as they did 40 years ago, they all seem to agree, especially about one point: the world may never know another Woodstock.
True, we may never have a comparable event for today’s up and coming generations to add to their canons. In this way, the three days of mud, love and music might enjoy a unique place in our cultural hall of fame. However, the texting and twittering references utilized by the nostalgic baby boomers to make their case comes across not only with deserved pride in their accomplishment, but also with a smirk and a faint hint of smugness.
What they’ve failed to acknowledge, though, is that while their landmark event stood in stark contrast to many of the cultural norms of the day, their norms are not so true today. Today’s Generation Next demonstrates a much more open and accepting view of cultural differences and personal choices. They work well in groups, communicate with a diverse array of people in multiple mediums, and are generally more tolerant than generations before them.
In essence, the vision the merrily depraved Woodstockers sought and espoused is still showing signs of life, and at least to some degree, seems to be growing.
The seeded ideals within the 60’s counter culture movements (including those so eloquently positioned in MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech) have germinated and taken root in our social landscape. While the germinations are just saplings still, that they are embedded in the children and young adults raised by boomers indicates a lasting legacy of the 60’s dreamers and revelers.
Obama, love him or hate him, as our nation’s first black president, is the dream on its way to being realized. Additionally, young people’s big shrug at the “controversy” of homosexuality stands as a prime example of how the ideals of compassion and equality are now strengthening as the reality of our social landscape.
We may never have a Woodstock, but we have begun to embody, and accept as a natural tenet of civil humanity, ideals that were once just the dreams of a muddy, hungry lot of daydreamer. And that is one more reason to celebrate Woodstock.
And one more reason to get back in the classroom, and help the next generation take it even further.