Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (1 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   4 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

The Triumph of Progressivism: Graduation 2013 and 1968

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Valuable 2   Interesting 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 5/14/13

Become a Fan
  (105 fans)


Many of you soon-to-be college graduates are determined to make the world a better place. Some of you are choosing careers in public service or joining nonprofits or volunteering in your communities.

But many of you are cynical about politics. You see the system as inherently corrupt. You doubt real progress is possible.

"What chance do we have against the Koch brothers and the other billionaires?" you've asked me. "How can we fight against Monsanto, Boeing, JP Morgan, and Bank of America? They buy elections. They run America."  

Let me remind you: Cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophesy. You have no chance if you assume you have no chance.

"But it was different when you graduated," you say. "The sixties were a time of social progress."

You don't know your history.  

When I graduated in 1968, the Vietnam War was raging. Over half a million American troops were already there. I didn't know if I'd be drafted. A member of my class who spoke at commencement said he was heading to Canada and urged us to join him.

Two months before, Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. America's cities were burning. Bobby Kennedy had just been gunned down.   

George ("segregation forever") Wallace was on his way to garnering 10 million votes and carrying five southern states. Richard Nixon was well on his way to becoming president.

America was still mired in bigotry.  

I remember a classmate who was dating a black girl being spit on in a movie theater. The Supreme Court had only the year before struck down state laws against interracial marriage.

My entire graduating class of almost 800 contained only six young black men and four Hispanics.

I remember the girlfriend of another classmate almost dying from a back-alley abortion, because safe abortions were almost impossible to get.

I remember a bright young woman law school graduate in tears because no law firm would hire her because she was a woman.

I remember one of my classmates telling me in anguish that he was a homosexual, fearing he'd be discovered and his career ruined.  

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

http://robertreich.org/

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Republican's Big Lies About Jobs (And Why Obama Must Repudiate Them)

Paul Ryan Still Doesn't Get It

What Mitt Romney Really Represents

The Minimum Wage, Guns, Healthcare, and the Meaning of a Decent Society

Why the Right-Wing Bullies Will Hold The Nation Hostage Again and Again

The Gas Wars

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

I am of your generation. I went through the same ... by Bayard Waterbury on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 7:05:46 PM
I dare say listening regularly to Moyers is someth... by manifesto 2000 on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 1:25:50 AM
What a wonderful description of our progress on so... by Fred Gohlke on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 7:20:33 AM
Excellent comments Fred... by manifesto 2000 on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 12:28:21 AM