The change in attitude and the level of discourse is mind-boggling.
Being alive during the chaos of that earlier era, in spite of all the injustice and social upheaval, I remember there was always a feeling of optimism, that as bad as things were, life and our society would follow an upward path to a more enlightened and equal place, that amidst all the confusion, people were all working toward the same goals, peace, freedom, equality.
These decades later, it's disheartening that in spite of much progress, so much remains undone, and that once pervasive feeling of optimism is gone. The country today is hopelessly fractured and inexorably pulling apart. Today, "progress" is expressed as stagnation and obstruction. There are no shared goals, it's everyone for themselves. Pessimism about where we are headed rules the day, and there is little to no hope for any positive change.
Back then, in his eulogy for his brother Robert, Ted Kennedy spoke of "youth" and how it had and would lead society to a better place.
Today, idealism is not to be found in the youth, but in a 74 year old outsider with no chance at diverting a society that is built on incrementalism, and incrementalism is blocked at every turn by obstructionists. Incrementalism is the only block to a different outsider with fascist tendencies and a child's incapacity to responsibly vie for the leadership of the free world.
It's a feeling of futility that we've settled for this in our country, that leaves most of us removed and disengaged from a system that is seemingly built upon a foundation of entropy.