“Stop, Children, What’s That Sound?”-a line from a sixties protest song-is the headline of Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s nostalgia piece on Saturday’s protest demonstrations:
“Saturday had that vintage feeling. Cindy Sheehan was there to play her iconic earth-mother role, while the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presence somehow made the whole thing official. In the crowd there were next-generation merry pranksters bearing caricature puppets, legions of praying Buddhists, ranks of earnest Presbyterians for Peace and files of silver-haired Raging Grannies. There were countless young adults whose baby boomer parents had marched these same streets in protest over three decades ago. All that was missing was the sour tinge of tear gas in the air.”
Mr. Robinson isn’t the only one with sixties nostalgia-last night Martin Scorsese’s documentary on Bob Dylan was shown on public TV.
Was anybody ever as young as baby-faced Bob Dylan looked back then? Did anybody ever have a more remarkable voice? Some of the protest songs had perfect pitch: “How many roads must a man walk down/Before you call him a man? Yes, ‘n’ how many seas must a white dove sail/ Before she sleeps in the sand?”
It was a moving and appropriate anthem for the civil rights movement.
But mostly, the songs were the artistic products of youthful troubadours who knew nothing about politics or sacrifice. They were just kids. Spoiled kids in many instances. “With God on Our Side,” one of Dylan’s most famous and admittedly haunting hits, misrepresents and mocks our notion of what a great country the United States is.
Isn’t it a shame that people like Mr. Robinson, who from the looks of his photo on the column is no spring chicken can’t grow up? They continue to live in a Crosby, Stills, and Nash world. Perhaps the anthem for this generation was Arlo Guthrie’s “Songs for Aging Children.”
But there are grown-ups, many much younger than Mr. Robinson, who know the cost of freedom.
Here from Powerline is the story of how one of them was received during Saturday’s protests.