The sixties and early seventies were a time of complications for radicals, conservatives, and drones.
One of the frequent discussions between the more radical of my friends was about “when will the Revolution come.” This could seem old today, but in the sixties, it seemed immediate. My best friend, the son of a steelworker, stated that there would be no true revolution in this country because everybody had enough of the pie that the cost of revolution looked to be too high. Things were getting better. To revolt, things would have to either get much worse or, the underpinnings of society would have to be altered.
Of course, we didn’t realize that the revolution was rolling along. We were riding the wave but didn’t even realize it.
In the past forty years, there has been an ongoing revolution for women. But, like most combat sports, not all the battles have ended in victories. For men? Well, the surveys seem to suggest that after a party, she still does most of the cleanup, and she still does most of the childcare. But men are less likely to be the “breadwinners” in a family. In popular parlance I still hear the words shag and screw used by men for sex. To me it implies that the idea of partnership is still weak among many men. Isn’t it amazing how persistent some things are while others change radically? Actually the word surreal comes to mind.
So, where is the revolution these days? First, it’s in the radical changes in the world of work. This includes the opening shots fired in the nineties with the massive downsizing of many corporations, increased age discrimination, and the ever-present glass ceiling for women.
Stay-at-home dads (of which I was one for several years) are no longer uncommon, and most recently, it’s in the changes imposed on us by the pandemic – remote working, less dining out, more home time.
The underpinnings of society are being altered, and change is being forced on us at an accelerated pace. But, like so many predicting a future, we only see bits of it. My friend loved to point out another thing to the radicals in the sixties – those that start revolutions don’t always win them or get to see the result. A wildfire is just that. It is out of control and uncontained.
The current debate over the unimmunized is witness to how multiple trends twine about and stymie reasonable efforts for public health. Efforts to control voting and reproductive rights are some of the others.
The revolution has arrived, and it is the whirlwind.