It’s the end of an era. Tom Hayden is dead. It’s something that is fast approaching for all the progressives of that era. I remember being young feeling vibrant and convinced that we should and could change the world. It was, after all, the right thing to do. Careers and relationships and purchasing “things” were secondary to getting it right for all of us. The sixties and the seventies were especially politically vibrant, and we were convinced we would show the establishment, and parents who we still loved, that you didn’t have to live defeated, you could still be courageous and undefeated and believing no matter how old you were.
I played a minor role in that time – organizing against the war in Southeast Asia which was one of the most stupid things I had ever heard of, and doing some work for a man that I believed in, the head of the UFW, Cesar Chavez, who people forget was a union organizer. A union man.
I never met Tom Hayden but I heard much about him at the time. I don’t know how imperfect he was but I do know that he tried for the people and that is a very good thing.
As you get older and slow down and worry more about your body (and sometimes your mind) there is a sadness because you know, just know you had it right and helping people should not be so difficult. You would have done it no other way you just hope the results for all the people had been better.
It’s the end of an era – I was the kid in the group of people I worked with, but especially now I’m old enough. Tom Hayden has died and soon my time will come. It’s the end of an era and there is so much more to do.
Some of us found love and camaraderie and accomplishment and a bit of peace while some of us found those qualities to be wisps of vapor on a warming day.
And I see the millennials protesting against many of things we did and some more we didn’t think of, and it is good and it is right. It’s the end of an era and a new era has begun. My best wishes to all these young truth seekers.
“The 1960s anti-war activist Tom Hayden, whose name became forever linked with the celebrated Chicago seven trial, Vietnam war protests and his ex-wife, actor Jane Fonda, has died aged 76.”
“Hayden died on Sunday after a long illness, said his wife, Barbara Williams. He had a stroke in 2015.”
“Once denounced as a traitor by his detractors, he won election to the California assembly and senate where he served for almost two decades as a progressive force on issues such as education and the environment. He was the only one of the radical Chicago seven defendants to win such distinction in the mainstream political world.”
“He was an enduring voice against war and spent his later years as a prolific writer and lecturer advocating for reform of US political institutions.”
“Rarely, if ever, in American history has a generation begun with higher ideals and experienced greater trauma than those who lived fully the short time from 1960 to 1968,” he wrote.”
“Hayden was there at the start. In 1960, while a student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, he was involved in the formation of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), then dedicated to desegregating the south. By 1962, when he began drafting the landmark Port Huron Statement, SDS and Hayden were dedicated to changing the world.”
“We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably at the world we inherit,” began the statement, which outlined a plan for a revolutionary campus social movement.”
“Hayden acknowledged at the end of his memoir that his time as a counterculture rebel had been the most exciting and fulfilling of his life. “Whatever the future holds and as satisfying as my life is today,” he wrote, “I miss the 60s and I always will.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/24/tom-hayden-1960s-anti-war-activist-dies-at-76