I've always heard that when we are young we tend to be liberals, but when we grow up and face adult responsibilities, we tend to become conservatives. I had my doubts about that, because I have never lost my liberalism. However, when I look back at events from the not too distant past, and last week, I'm beginning to have my doubts.
As a kid growing up it the 1960's and 70's I saw young people protesting everything. College students were protesting the all expenses paid trips to Vietnam some of them were forced to accept. There were also protests to lower the voting age, and for women's liberation. It was almost as common for students to take over the campus as a football game. When you add in the effects of Woodstock and the discovery of recreational drugs, you had a whole generation that was redefining rebellion.
As if that wasn't enough, the Civil Rights Movement was going on with a war among its members between those who wanted to follow the example of Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who were demanding change by any means necessary. From 1965 to 1970 nearly every American city was the site of riots fueled by racial anger.
It's beginning to look like the generation that was full of liberals who were rebelling against everything, have sired generations of conservative Republicans.
The first clue came in the wake of the 200 Presidential election. That was the one that ended with no apparent winner because no one knew whether George W. Bush or Al Gore had won the state of Florida (It has turned out that Florida still has trouble with elections, but that's another story.). Each recount lowered the lead of Bush, so his supporters staged what became known as the Palm Beach Riot.
Palm Beach is not the home of the oppressed. The only poor people who go there are going to work for the wealthy. It's the last place that you would expect a citizens uprising, but that's what happened. A mob of well dressed adults stormed the building where the recount was being conducted, and disrupted it. They eventually got the result they were trying to achieve, when the Supreme Court ordered the end of the recount, giving the Presidency to George W. Bush.
We were left with the image of adults, who may have been the sons and daughters of those college militants, not protesting for voting rights or lowering the voting age, but trying to stop a legitimate recount of an election.
Last week a group of about two dozen members of Congress, some of whom could have been the grandchildren of those 60's rebels, crashed a closed committee hearing causing it to be delayed. They did it to protest the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump.
They claimed that Republicans were being shut out of the process, but that just isn't true. The committee meeting in the room was made up of members of both parties, plus their staffs. With the way things leak in Washington, there was no way this secret meeting was going to stay secret.
What made the Republicans reaction to the meeting even odder is that it is a practice that they used to use themselves. The Select Committee to investigate the murder of four people in our embassy in Benghazi, (One of eight separate investigations of Benghazi) used this same method to question witnesses. At the time, the Republican Chairman, Trey Gowdy defended the process as being better than a public hearing. He was right then, and it's the best way to hold these hearings today.
In public hearings, the investigators and witnesses end up playing to the audience and the TV cameras more than trying to get to the truth. Nothing really gets accomplished. In private, with no one to play to, everybody gets down to work.
So, it turns out that the generation that opposed a war gave us a generation that tried to stop an election. That generation in turn, gave us a generation that staged a phony protest in support of a man who would be a dictator, if given the chance.