Somewhere between 1959 and 1979, the world changed for people who kept their noses clean and did what they were told. They were going to be Daddies and Mommies, make a living in some way similar to old Dad, buy a house, have two kids, a dog, a white picket fence and two cars, hopefully send the kids to college. Then came 1968.
The year that Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy were killed, that the Tet Offensive proved the Vietnam war was unwinnable, that segregationist and Goldwater-sympathizing George Wallace lost and election alongside "Clean Gene" McCarthy's children's crusade, that Czechoslovakia showed Soviet Europe was faltering, that ... so on and so forth.
An emblematic year of much more than the year, containing developments that came before it and after. Those who lived through it were never the same, just as those who lived through 1945 weren't and perhaps those who lived through 2001 may have been irrevocably changed.
For many of us it was the gateway to experimentation with hallucinogens and sex and philosophies that the Jesuits didn't teach.
For others it was a hugely confusing and disappointing time. This latter group, which includes some of the nicest people I have ever met, found that the factory and the church closed and Mom ran off to find herself and with other men have children named Granola and Sunshine.
They got angry.
Nothing they had learned fit. Dating wasn't as expected. Marriage wasn't even common for a while, until eventually it became the place for a minority of children to be born. Forget about the white picket fence. And God sure didn't rain thunderbolts on the bad people!
Not even Reagan and the two Bushes could set things aright. So that's why they think they're the "Tea Party."
I don't blame them. I just wish they could accept my sincere sense of pained understanding. Nothing turned out quite the same for anyone else, either. Neither Carter, nor Clinton nor Obama could take us back to Camelot. I hear ya.