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Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Last Good Campaign

I just recently subscribed to Vanity Fair magazine because now that I no longer work in fashion I find that I have absolutely no need whatsoever to know what shoes Reese Witherspoon was wearing the last time she took her kids shopping. I can't afford a $400 t-shirt so I'm kind of over Vogue and InStyle thank you very much.

Since I finished both the most recent Jen Lancaster memoir as well as the most recent installment of Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble series, I sat down to read the feature piece in this month's Vanity Fair that I had actually been saving for a day like today.

I've always had a thing for contemporary US history, specifically the 1960's and the Vietnam era. Last week when I was sitting in Applebees in Tewksbury watching the news report on Ted Kennedy's tumor, all I could think was, "If he dies, that generation of Kennedys is gone forever." Then I realized too that someday soon there would come a generation that would have no idea who JFK and RFK even were, or what they stood for and meant to our country. The feature piece is an excerpt from a book by Thurston Clarke with photos by Bill Eppridge that details the 82 day campaign trail in 1968. After reading the piece and subsequently viewing the photo slideshow on Vanity Fair's website (which the title of this blog links to) I can feel my fire for 1960's era politics once again rearing its ugly head.

What would our country be like if RFK had lived long enough to get elected? Hell, what would it have been like if JFK had survived his term in office? Over the decades, we would be hard pressed to point to two political leaders who sparked such national support as the Kennedys in a time when we were fighting a war that most Americans felt we never had a right to be fighting in the first place. Race riots plagued the inner cities and college campuses were hotbeds for protests and violent outbursts from the National Guard, sent to keep students from expressing their views about the war and the changing political climate.

Everything changed in the 1960's. Women's rights. Civil Rights. Poetry, music, television, dance, clothing, education. People talked. They got involved and pushed movements that eventually changed laws, that drove the way our country evolved. Where can we even find that kind of passion any longer? Certainly not in a country that now vehemently distrusts the majority of their political leaders and citizens are more likely to vote for American Idol than they are to vote for our next presidential candidate.

I guess the entire point of this non-child centered rant is that I fear the day that we become a country that can't remember its own history. It's a cliche for a reason...we're doomed to repeat it. I just hope that in repeating our history, someday another enigmatic leader emerges to bring this country back to its roots before it's too late.

1 comment:

  1. If you read Vanity Fair, check out each issue to see if Christopher Hitchens wrote an article in there. The guy is a genius, I love his writing.