Culture War of the 1960s-70s Essay

1755 WordsOct 14, 20138 Pages
The rise of the counterculture in the late 1960s through the 1970s set the stage for what became to be known as the “culture wars.” Beginning with the 1980 presidential race between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, the culture wars became a precedent within the platforms of each candidate running for executive office. The 1996 presidential race between President Bill Clinton and Senator Robert Dole was no different. Dole portrayed himself as a bridge to the past, promising he could return to the present those age-old ideals of the post-WWII era. Clinton portrayed himself as the bridge to the future, a way to let go of the culture of the past and create a new one. The October 6th debate between Clinton and Dole capitalized on the areas of the culture wars that the two disagreed upon, most predominantly being the youth’s drug use and the after-shocks within the education system and national security. Over the course of two decades the culture wars had evolved into an illustration of the clash between post-WWII cultural attitudes and the rebellious attitudes of the Vietnam War youth, a fight between the parents and their rowdy children. The Vietnam War became the initial catalyst in the emergence of the counterculture. The movement was viewed as a fight against the traditionalist views in society (Klatch, 134). Klatch defines the characteristics of the counterculture as the “dress, music, drugs, sexuality and ‘alternative lifestyles” that those involved became known for. Political activists, such as members within SDS and YAF, felt a fragmentation form between those who identified and participated with the counterculture and those who opposed and criticized it. From its very start, the counterculture, and more specifically the drug-use within it, formed a division between two generations. Second generation activists (the young folk) were more prone to

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