Students had a huge impact in the 1970’s – sadly not today
The young folk in the sixties and seventies were a force to be reckoned with when it came to their conscience and doing something with it.
Flower power was a slogan; a symbol of passive resistance and non-violent ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles.
Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children.
During this period a significant event in the student protest movement occurred when 4 innocents, peacefully demonstrating in Kent State University, were unnecessarily and illegally killed by The Ohio Army National Guard.
By way of some background to the “Ohio Massacre”, on May 4th, Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States in 1968, promising to end the Vietnam War. In November 1969, the My Lai Massacre by American troops of over 400 civilians in a Vietnamese village was exposed, leading to increased public opposition in the United States to the war. The nature of the draft also changed in December 1969, with the first draft lottery since World War II. This eliminated deferments allowed in the prior draft process, affecting many college students and teachers.
The war had appeared to be winding down throughout 1969, so the new invasion of Cambodia angered those who believed it only exacerbated the conflict. Across the country, campuses erupted in protests in what Time called “a nationwide student strike”, setting the stage for the events of early May 1970.
Two of the four students killed, Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller, had participated in the protest, and the other two, Sandra Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder, had been walking from one class to the next at the time of their deaths.
There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million students, and the event further affected public opinion—at an already socially contentious time—over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.
This wonderful Neil Young Video is a graphic depiction of what happened on that sad day in Ohio. His words and music capture the sense of outrage that was prevalent at the time amongst young people that were opposed to war.
In this era of terrorism, war, radicalism & protectionism positive social change (equality, forgiveness, peace, tolerance, reconciliation), can only begin to take root when the younger generations start doing something as a collective to have their voice heard. And we need more artists like Neil Young, who actually gave a f&^k to use their talent to help forge a universal consciousness. If we all give a little the World will be a far better place.