Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Category: Politics

Summer of ’69

There is a lot of chaos in our country right now and it can get overwhelming and occasionally even frightening. I sometimes (often?) would prefer to just be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand. Wake me up when Rome stops burning, and if it never stops, then at least I won’t have had to watch it go up in flames.

But, I’m also a student of history, and I have studied the late 1960s and 70s pretty extensively. I always say that if we survived the 70s, we can survive today because the parallels are uncanny, really.

In the 1960s and 70s, distrust of the government was at an all-time high, thanks to the Vietnam War and the Nixon/Watergate scandal. The era marked a shift in how Americans viewed the government, one which we definitely see on display in full-force now, and one which would still prevail, regardless of the party in power.

The time period was marked by race riots, some of which started over police brutality, some of which resulted in martial law and calling in the National Guard and federal troops. In one of those riots, 16 people were killed and nearly 500 were injured. 

In addition to the race riots, mass protests against a very unpopular war characterized the era. Soldiers dealing with the after effects of Agent Orange and yet-to-be-named PTSD from the guerrilla warfare conditions of Vietnam returned home only to discover they were often not welcome here, either. Visitors to the White House unleashed cockroaches and emptied vials of their own blood in the residence (source: The Residence by Kate Anderson Brower). Four students were killed at a rally at Kent State, leading to a student strike.

The foremost leader of the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. So was Bobby Kennedy. So had been John F. Kennedy and Malcolm X earlier in the decade.

Planes crashed. Hurricanes hit. A President resigned before he could be impeached.

The era of the Flower Child had a dark side, and it was wild.

Do you see the similarities? If it’s not yet abundantly clear, I’ll even make some pop culture references.

Protest music captured the airwaves, and songs such as War (“what is it good for, absolutely nothin'”) and What’s Going On (“picket lines and picket signs; don’t punish me with brutality”) dominated the charts.

Compare that to songs released just this summer by the Chicks (aka, the Artists formerly known as the Dixie Chicks) and Eric Church. The Chicks’ March, March includes lyrics such as  “March, march to my own drum, hey, hey, I’m an army of one…temperature’s are rising, cities are sinking…”. Eric Church’s “Stick that in your Country Song” begins with, ‘Take me on up to Detroit city; jails are full, the factories empty. Momma’s crying, young boys dying, under that red white and blue still flying.”

Even fashion has swung back around to the bell-bottom, rainbow platform days of the hippies. But, I’m not complaining about that part…scroll to the bottom of the post to see how I’ve fully embraced the retro trends.

My point in this history lesson is that history does repeat itself. And while not all of the repetitions are ones we would necessarily want to experience again, the coming out on the other side is something that we can look forward to. And that’s what I am hopeful about – yes, the 1960s and 70s were a rough time. 2020 is a rough time, and it has been a rough time for a few years now. But, we survived it 50 years ago…we can survive it again.

However, there is one difference between now and the 60s/70s, and I think it’s pretty crucial. I don’t think Americans hated each other as much then. Sure, there was a lot of anger and fear and hatred floating around, but I don’t think we took it out on our neighbors as much. Or if we did, social media wasn’t around to heighten the intensity and display it for all of those who might not otherwise hate each other to see.

So, I think it’s important to learn from our history so that even while it is repeating itself, we don’t make the same mistakes. Or, we don’t make a different mistake because we’re not taking the lessons it offers to heart. And the ultimate lesson that we need, I think, is the other message that the 60s and 70’s brought us: love. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now. All you need is love – love is all you need. We are family. 

With a little more love and compassion for each other, we can emerge stronger and better. But only if we work with each other – not against each other.

And now, for my favorite part of the post – the fashion. The last time bell-bottoms were in style was the 90s, actually. I was in middle school then, and I mostly stuck to the safer “flares”. But, I’m bolder in my old age, and I am in love with these full-on bells that I have. The outfit is made complete by a crop-top (only slightly cropped because I am in my 30s…), long straight hair, and rainbow platforms.

When I was a kid, my mom had some rainbow platform flipflops that she probably had owned for a decade or more by the time I showed up. But, I was obsessed with them. These shoes remind me of hers, which adds another dimension of fun to this whole look.

Thank you for reading. As a reward for having made it this far, I was going to tell you the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me lately (and you know, I asked out my chiropractor, so it’s a high bar). But, I’ve talked enough, so I’ll simply tease you with that headline for now and a promise to tell you the story soon.

Thanks for reading.

<3,
SB

Cancel Culture

Last week marked 6 months of my living in DC, y’all – can you believe it?! Even more shocking perhaps than how much time has passed is that, global pandemic notwithstanding, I actually really like it here. Some might wonder why I moved to a place I wasn’t sure I’d like, but since I did, let’s all just celebrate that I am happy with my decision.

One of the primary reasons I love living in this area are the friends I’ve already made. With a few notable exceptions, I never really felt like I found my “people” in Nashville. I had a lot of people who cared about me, and I about them. But, having a group of friends where you’re automatically included in weekend plans is harder to find, and something I haven’t had since I left Virginia Beach almost 7 (!!) years ago. To find it so quickly here is an answer to prayer, one I’m not even sure I fully articulated.

Perhaps living in the political capital of the world, though, has made me want to get more political. Or maybe it’s just that everyone else has suddenly decided to get political, so I feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses.

Either way, I have a few thoughts. I took a break from social media (mostly) for the better part of the past month, and it was so refreshing. Everything is heavy right now – every issue is political, from whether or not you like Hamilton, to whether or not you have extra toilet paper in your house. You can’t scroll through any social media platform without being subjected to one-sided arguments shouted at you – from both sides.

I had a really great Fourth of July this year, full of oohs and ahhs over the gorgeous fireworks surrounding the monuments to our national heroes. Imagine my surprise, then, when I came home from the spectacular display to discover that, according to social media, I wasn’t supposed to have celebrated America this year at all. Or at least not without a giant side of vocalized shame.

Imagine my even greater surprise when I learned that Hamilton, a show written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, darling of the liberal artistic community, and whose producers famously refused to cast white actors in its lead roles was now facing criticism for being tone deaf and insensitive because it featured historical figures who had owned slaves. Never mind that a recurring theme with one of the characters was his mission to free the slaves.

Lest there be any confusion, slavery was wrong, and we are still dealing with the repercussions of white America’s horrible treatment of black people 150 years after the slaves were liberated. For more on my thoughts about race, please feel free to read my previous post.

But we can’t just “cancel” every historical figure that did things that were wrong. For one thing, canceling does not accomplish anything. It does not change the past, nor does it promote critical conversations in the present. For another, if you cancel someone altogether, that gets rid of the good they did, as well as the bad.

So, we can cancel Washington because he owned slaves, but then we literally have no country at all, and we drink a lot more tea. (And we still have slaves.) We can cancel Lincoln because he was more concerned with preserving the Union than with ending slavery – but, then slaves still aren’t free. We can cancel Teddy Roosevelt for his racist ideology against Native Americans (and a lot of other non-whites, honestly), but then we have none of our modern environmental protections. We can cancel FDR because of the horrible Japanese internments during WWII, but then we do not have the New Deal and the social programs which became the backbone of the Democratic party. We can cancel LBJ for starting the “War on Drugs” which has unfairly targeted black people, but then we do not have a Civil Rights Act ending segregation and racial discrimination…and I could go on.

We cannot cancel everyone who had inconsistencies with our modern sensibilities because we’ll never be able to stop. Soon, we’ll have nothing left of our history or our nation. A nation which, despite its sins both past and present, has actually done a whole lot of good for a whole lot of people, at home and abroad.

Society is supposed to evolve and grow and become better. Every generation since the beginning of time has thought itself more progressive and enlightened than the one before it, and generations from now will probably look back at us and criticize our attitudes and behaviors, as well. But let’s hope that when they do, they will also see the good that we’ve tried to accomplish and they will have a rational conversation about our positive and negative decisions, rather than a conversation that discards us altogether if we do not achieve moral perfection by their modern standards.

So, take down the Confederate statues – they were also traitors to the country and do not deserve to be honored. But rather than destroying them, let’s put them in a museum so that we can still remember our history, learn from it, and become better. And for everyone else, let’s talk about their contributions both good AND bad instead of just pretending they never existed.

I have more to say, but I’ll save the second half of my history lesson for another post. For now, I’ll just pick back up with where I started this post – with a description of my life in DC, and the part that I think everyone really cares about: my dating life.

Y’all, dating here is not awesome. Everyone said that would be the case, but for a while, I thought they might have been overstating it. All of my dates have had super fascinating jobs and I’ve enjoyed learning about them. But, most of their personalities…have not been as fascinating. And, as I’ve complained before, Nashville is just a prettier town than DC. So far, I know about 2 good looking men in this whole city, and I’ve already dated both of them. But, as has always been the case in my life, hope springs eternal, and maybe now that things are starting to normalize, my fortunes will turn around.

And just so I don’t completely abandon my original purpose for this blog, here is a photo of an outfit that I had posted on Instagram. For the record, I did not, in fact, meet my soul mate that night.

Thanks for reading everyone – much love to you all. And to America; she still deserves it.

<3,
SB

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