Opinions and Rants #24: Tea Partiers and Hippies:Two of a Kind

I know tea-partiers will hate to hear this, but I’ve got to say it: tea partiers are a lot like the hippies of the 60s and 70s. This is not a criticism of either group – just an observation.

The hippies hated the government – they didn’t trust it, and felt it was too big, too powerful and too forceful with its power. If you listen to the likes of Glenn Beck, you’ll quickly learn the tea partiers feel exactly the same way. They don’t even want to give out information for the census! [Newsflash to tea partiers: if you have a credit card, own a home or file taxes, you have already matriculated TONS of information about yourself into the system that makes the census data look trivial.]

The hippies loved their country, I’m sure; however, their actions and words often sounded highly unpatriotic. They burned draft cards, rioted, and painted Nixon and LBJ into demonic figures. Their view of American history was also tinted with a pessimism and anger. Remember the teacher in Dazed and Confused?

"OK, guys, one more thing. Hey, this summer when you're being inundated with all this bi-centennial, Fourth of July, bru-ha-ha just remember what you're celebrating. That's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning aristocratic white males didn’t want to pay their taxes."
I had a lot of teachers that felt that way. It was a far, far cry from the so-called “greatest generation” who glorified American history, and practiced an unquestioning allegiance to the flag. The tea partiers would like to associate themselves with that group, but I hate to break it to them – they have a lot more in common with the hippies.

They view the President as a minister of evil and Congress as a bunch of worthless fat cats – people to be feared and despised, not respected. To both the tea partiers and the hippies, protest and venomous criticism are the highest forms of patriotism.

My father was in the military during Vietnam, and literally had stones thrown at him by hippies when he was wearing the uniform. I’d like to go back to a time before all the cynicism and hatred. It’s a good thing to question the government, but there’s a line that you cross where it serves only to tear down and not build up. You may not like the President, you may not respect your representatives, but sometimes your shouts of protest can weaken our collective national pride.

Not too long ago, President Obama gave a televised speech to children across the country. My kids would have loved this – that seed of patriotism would have been planted in their young minds. To them, it was as if the president was speaking directly to their classroom, and they looked forward to it. Sadly, the speech was not shown at their school due to protests from parents! Thanks a lot. Now these students can grow up to distrust and hate their country just like mom and dad.

The hippie elite tore down any remaining crumbs of faith in The White House with Watergate. The conservative movement (i.e. proto-tea partiers) did the same thing with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I wonder if it was worth it to cheapen and denigrate the presidency in order to tar and feather a President for getting it on with an intern. The tea partiers would love to once again make a mockery of the Oval Office by dredging up dirt on President Obama (i.e. his affiliation with ACORN and the controversy over his birthplace). Thank God these tea partiers weren’t around during the Kennedy presidency – they would have destroyed Camelot with all of JFK’s extra marital shenanigans.

Sure, there’s an element of vehemence on both sides of the aisle – the tea partiers certainly aren’t the only voice of derision. But my point here is to make it abundantly clear to teapartiers – you may think you are heirs to The Greatest Generation, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. You make any hope for a renewed faith in our government impossible.


  1. I think really the only thing they have in common is that they are both groups that protest. These Tea Party morons are motivated by fear, manipulated by demagogues who could give a crap about them and just want to sell books and airtime, plus there's a very racist element at the center of the tea party movement - don't tell me there isn't, becasue there is.

    The hippies believed in stupid things becasue they were on drugs. The tea party imbeciles believe stupid things becasue they are stupid.

  2. A most impressive observation.
    Tea-party losers that shout and get angry at whatever Fox news tells them.
    In the 60's and 70's there were a great many more important things to fight against like equal rights for women and different races.

    Oh yeah, then there was Vietnam....I don't see many tea-party types protesting to bring home the Americans in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    I hope you do not get a lot of needles flak over this posting. You know how loud those guys yell if they ever encounter any opposition whatsoever.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. As far as I can remember hippies showed their love of their country by burning American flags, and according to you stoning members of the military and denigrating the founders. They came across as motivated by a desire to have loads of fun without taking responsibility.
    The tea partiers do none of this- though a few have been beaten up. Well except that I'm sure they do like to have fun.
    Perhaps it wouldn't have been such a disaster if the public had been aware of JFK's conquests at the time- I don't find it easy to trust a man who betrays his wife- I sort of think his wife is more important to him than I am- but then perhaps others are less stuffy.

  4. Pat - No one is perfect; if it's always a good thing to expose the personal weaknesses of a President, then I daresay EVERY leader this country has ever had from Washington and Jefferson to FDR and Bush would have plenty for teapartiers to talk about and point fingers at.

    I assume you would also not trust Thomas Jefferson because he also had extra marital affairs?

    I think all this tawdry nonsense accomplishes is (1) it makes the self riteous accusors feel better about themselves and (2) it erodes our national pride even further.

  5. I really do love this site but if I may say so,I hope posts dealing with politics stay few and far between.There's plenty of sites for all political views on the Net.

    I come to Retrospace due to my love of pop culture.Though I understand and try to appreciate the occasional post with political content,I prefer the lighter topics overall.

  6. You've touched on something here that few would want to notice. What both groups have in common historically is political extremism. The hippies HATED liberals and were always attacking the "liberal establishment": they wanted a pure anarchist society of some kind. Likewise the tea partiers want some kind of pure free market society. Good observation.

  7. Wow. I really enjoy your posts as well as your views on pop culture which echo mine in many was but I gotta say; your way off on this one. Way off.

    First your confusing hippies with Yippies. The Youth International Party (Yippies) were the main force behind the anti-war movement. Some of their leaders and factions were for violent revolution through violent means. Hardly the peace , love and change through peaceful protest that hippies spoke of.

    In other words a hippy would give a soldier like your father a flower and flash him the peace sign . A Yippie would throw rocks and tell him to fuck off.

    The teabags in their collective minds believe they lived their lives according to the ‘American Dream’. They are white, Christian, gun owning, hard working conservative voting middle-aged or retired people who are scarred out of their minds. They’ve been told for 30 years that the government of the people is their enemy and the corporate ponzi scheme that is capitalism was their only hope for freedom and prosperity. Now that our economy has begun to collapse and our government has been bought out by the bourgeoisie they look were they always looked for answerers and guidance. They look to television.

    And it tells them that a black Muslim born in Africa who wants to take their guns and change their government (which they hate anyway) into a fascist oligarchy run by Marxists that will bring socialism, czars, death panels and take away their Medicare, tax breaks and social security.

    How can any comparisons by made between this group and one that promoted an end to war, equal rights, sexual freedom, freedom of thought and body as well as a government that works for all and not for the few.

    Is a president who uses a secret police force ( Liddy and Creep) to break into a psychologists office to blackmail a political opponent really equal in malice to one who gets a blow job from an adult co-worker during office hours? One is direct assault on the people of this country . The other is no one’s business except those adults involved.

    Is Glenn Beck the new Abby Hoffman? Will Toby Keith replace Dylan? Does the image of teabag women hood Sarah Palin even compare to Gloria Steinem ? You don’t need to worry about looking for an equivalent to Dr. King. There are no black teabags.

    As for Obama the teabags didn’t ‘dredge’ up anything. They made it up. ACORN helped millions of our nations poorest with housing, healthcare, voter registration, taxes, ect. All it took was a rich frat boy with a video camera and some bad editing and ACORN was out in the cold. And so were millions of people during a time of economic hardship. And what does Obama do? Nothing….not even an inspirational speech.

    As I write this angry rant I realize I could go on for pages but I guess my main points are these.

    1. Violence as a tool for political change is not an option. No matter what the cause.
    2.Hippies believe in peace and non violence above all. Teabags believe in violence and intimidation.
    3. Hippies looked at the inequality of the world and wanted to change it. Teabags were told that they would no longer the beneficiary of these inequalities and are fighting to preserve them.
    4. The hippies were covered in the media. The teabags were made by and for the media.
    5. Hippies look for truth ( I said they look; not that they found it ). Teabags run from the truth ( Ever try talking to one using facts and logic? Good luck.).
    6. The only things both groups have in common is they are protesting , and members of both groups wear funny clothes.

    Now I'm so upset I'll need to listen to some "Strawberry Alarmclock',eat some granola and smoke a joint.

    Love your blog but let's keep it lighter in the future. If we're going to get controversial let's keep it retro.I'll start...

    Which is better, 'Quisp'
    or 'Quake'?

  8. 1. I understand some folks want things light 'n' easy. Well, I've written nearly 700 posts over two years and haven't had anything remotely political till now - so I think I'm entitled. Not to mention the fact that this is my blog which I do not get paid for, so I will continue to write about whatever I want.

    2. There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding regarding my point. I don't believe I ever said hippies and tea partiers had the same viewpoints, only that their political extremism manifests itself as anti-patriotisim or anti-nationalism - i.e. a rabid anti-government activism. Whether either party has or had any validy, I leave to each his own.

  9. SignOfZetaApril 10, 2010

    Wow. You really don't understand hippies.

  10. Pretty much all conscious political thoughts in my head ceased once I saw "Sin Census."

    I am but a man.

  11. Sorry if I sounded like I was telling you what to write ( ’let’s keep it light in the future’). That’s the furthest thing from my mind. Your posts are intelligent, insightful, honest and a highlight of my day. They keep me smiling and thinking, which is always a great combo. If in anyway I have offended you, you have my deepest apologies.

    We’re all a little frightened these days and Retrospace ( and others) take me back to a time that may have been just as turbulent as today , but were a great deal more fun. I’d just hate to lose that for political opinion. We have enough of that already from all sides and enough people. Including me.

    So brother Gil let your funky mind freak freely! Say what you feel and feel what you say. This old hippie wouldn’t have it any other way.

    See I told you, some ‘ Incense and Peppermint’, a burrito ( was out of granola) and a little of the Kind and I feel much better.

    By the way which do you prefer…Quisp or Quake?

  12. Dack ThrombosisApril 10, 2010

    "there's a very racist element at the center of the tea party movement - don't tell me there isn't, becasue there is."

    Where's your evidence? You don't have any and you're full of crap.

  13. Dack ThrombosisApril 10, 2010

    "Hippies believe in peace and non violence above all. Teabags believe in violence and intimidation."

    Uh huh. Those fine hippies that formed the Weather Underground sure were a peaceful bunch.

    Teabag movement violent? Where's your proof? You don't have any because there isn't any. And you know it. Next time you post on politics, try and find some facts instead of relying on your gut instincts and feelings.

  14. Jeez. No wonder I stick to posts on Wonder Woman and miniskirts. This stinks.

    No bad feelings to anyone. I really didn't intent to piss off a bunch of hippies and tea partiers.

    Let me restate it one last time for the record: both groups have served to erode our national pride.

    You can disagree all you like. But I compare our current culture to that of the past nearly every single day on Retrospace, and that is what I see.

    Does that mean I hate hippies or tea partiers? Hell no. I just long for a time when people were proud of their country and their elected officials.

    And before you say it, I'll say it for you - The officials need to earn our respect. This is true. There's a lot of blame to go around. I wasn't saying tea partiers and hippies are the sole culprits - I was pointing only to the similarities between the two.

    Ugh. On with the light hearted fluff posts!!

  15. Gilligan's not the only one to make this comparison. The comic strip Doonesbury had a storyline recently where perennial hippie Zonker encounters a Tea Party demonstration and feels right at home.

  16. Dack ThrombosisApril 11, 2010

    I'll chill out, Gilligan, but I'm done listening to liberals spout crap and expecting other people to just sit there with a smile on their face and take it. No more. The future of this country is too important.

    If it helps, I responded to the crackpots above while wearing a leisure suit and listening to Pink Floyd's Ummagumma...

  17. Hey All,
    Here is a little Northern and angry Gen x observation.
    1. The teabaggers and the hippies, yippies etc. are the same people (only in their fifties and sixties now) These are the same selfish band Wagon riding BabyBoomers who sold their dreams American or otherwise long ago. They only use younger faces like Beck, Palin and Cooper so as not to be reconized.
    2.Democrat, Republican, Nazi, Marxist, Matter NOT! These People are in charge now and if ever there was a generation not to be trusted its them! They are the Uber Cameleons who fool us into Riding that same Band Wagon to further their own selfish agenda.
    3. You are all right, it is a culture of fear. The Boomers have watched their falsely padded stock portfolios and pension plans fall apart and evaporate. Now in typical fashion they are crying foul that the are not getting their share of the dream, the one they all sold for better houses, cars, clothes, etc. etc.
    4. Yes Gilligan please continue with your expert coverage of all things Mini Skirt and Wonder Woman. Which is the reason I started folowing you in the first place.

  18. Well, Gilligan, I for one liked the post... though you forgot about the love hippies had of dressing up in revolutionary garb.

    Oh, wait, I'm thinking of Paul Revere and the Raiders.

  19. Garry Trudeau beat you to the point, I'm afraid:


    (check the links out quick; they start expiring this week)

  20. I just wanted to say I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your dad - no one has the right to physically assault or insult an American soldier, no matter what your views on war on. It reminds me of the sad story in the news recently about protesters who disrupted the funeral of a 20 year-old soldier who died in Iraq and are defending their actions under the first amendment.

  21. It's your blog, you say what you want.

    No matter what you believe, someone WILL oppose you. Controversy brings traffic.

    The way I see it, and remember it, hippies wanted freedom FROM personal responsibility, commitment, and government influence while relying on some mystical power to provide for their existence; and tea party people want freedom FOR personal responsibility, commitment, and government influence while relying on themselves to provide for their existence. I could be wrong, but that's my take.

  22. What a crock of bull here. This president is surrounded by 1960 radicals. They wrote the HCB,AND THE STIMULUS, for god's sake. DID YOU EVER WONDER HOW A 2500 PAGE STIMULOUS BILL WAS WRITTEN IN A WEEK? Come on man! The tea party is trying to save this nation from the destruction that this socialist Obama is trying to force down America's throat. Dreams from his father are Marxism. Read his book,it might enlighten you. There is no entittlement this administartion would pass up. As long as it doesn't come out of their own pocket. There is much difference. I grew up with the hippies of the 60's ,they were spoiled,entittled ,children, that never grew up.Wanted free love ,with no commitments,wanted another man''s earnings ,as if they were entittled. Most of their leaders were rich brats, whose parents gave tham everything on a silver platter. They wanted freedom at no cost..Like Ayers,Rubin,Doern,Hoffman. Who glorified dissent ,as though it were a game. It was to them. Or Fonda ,who stood with the viet cong,a traitor.
    Nothing to do with the hard working Americans who are tired of being lied to and taxed to death.
    You have a lot to learn about the truth.

  23. 2/4/11
    RobGems.ca wrote:
    Back in the 1960's the Hippies were always confused by straight society (even straight Liberals like LBJ & Hubert Humphrey)as the fear of the "downfall of American Values" by the paranoid right-winger Nixon/Agnew/Wallace society then labeled as "The Silent Majority". The Teabaggers of today come close to those "Silent Majorities" of yesteryear. THe term Of the word "pig" as to describe racist cops, corrupt politicians, male sexism, & capitalist societies? they were originated by the likes of Yippies like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, & Bobby Seale, & originated from the legendary animal caricature-for president of 1968, Pigasus, a wild boar owned by Phil Ochs (another socialist/marxist feared by straights back then)that was set up by the yippies as a joke/theatre candidate set up right out of a Groucho Marx script. The idea of course to those who took it as a joke, like The Beatles (where the song parody "Piggies" came from), but to dangerous subversives like Charlie Manson & his Family of killers, the joke was lost to those who didn't get it, as Manson & his band of thugs took things like "Death To Pigs" way out of hand. Today, the closest scapegoat the Teabaggers have to Manson & the Yippies are Jared Loughner (the killer from Arizona- alas, he's more like a "loner" like Lee Harvey Oswald than a nutjob recruiting a group of "family members" to kill for him),the bashing of George W. Bush (similar to the loathing of Richard Nixon, alas, Bush never resigned in disgrace, though many Liberals wished he had, plus he had two unpopular wars behind him, like LBJ),&people like Michael Moore, Bill Maurer, & even Jon Stewart, who make mainstream anti-right wing statements similar to those similar to the Yippies(they don't literally throw rocks & garbage,though, real far-left politicians today that resemble The Yippies of yesteryear would be Ward Churchill,Bill Ayers(alas, a fomer Weather Underground member of 1970), & Keith Olbermann (who just resigned from MSNBC recently).They may not have long hair & beards(except for Churchill,who sports a Native-American long-hair look), but their rants speak just as strongly as those mudslingers of 45 years earlier.