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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Bubbling beneath the everyday lives of a growing number of college students is the urge to reignite the tie-dye colored flames of another hippie revolution.

You've all recognized the signs. You've seen protests of all shapes and forms pop up around campus on what seems like a weekly basis. This semester alone, hundreds of passionate students have rallied for relevant social issues such as free speech, fair wages and access to the complete record of university funds.

But even beyond protesters thrusting hand-painted signs into the air and reciting clever chants lies additional proof of the coming of a Second Sixties.

Folk music, vegetarianism and poetry that doesn't make sense grow more popular by the day. Unisex attire is trendy once more because tight pants and headbands aren't restricted to girls or emo boys like they used to be. Even the entertainment industry is catching on to this 1960s trend, as exemplified in the new psychedelic movie "Across the Universe" that is on its way to becoming a cult classic.

Because of all of these re-emerging trends, it seems safe to say that the '60s is on its way back. The only thing missing is a social revolution.

We have all of the essentials. Our generation is directly affected by an unpopular war, an unpopular presidential administration, the unfair treatment of immigrants and minorities and, most notably, the looming danger of global warming.

According to this simple mathematical equation, these controversial issues added to the social desire to rekindle the ideas and trends of the '60s hippie revolution should equal some sort of major social change, but for some reason, that hasn't happened yet.

Maybe the reason a revolution hasn't occurred, despite the underlying social desire to have one, is our dependence on new technology.

Who has time to plan massive marches and free outdoor concerts when Facebook statuses need changing? Who has the attention span to tie-dye biodegradable shirts when our concentration is used up during intense Halo 3 gaming sessions? Who harbors the skills necessary to text friends and hold up a "NO MORE WAR" sign - at the same time?

We are just too busy with our intricate social networks to be bothered with serious thoughts about making serious changes in our society.

But technology isn't the only thing hindering a modern revolution. Political parties are another variable in the lack of a unified youth movement.

Nothing can escape being labeled as liberal and conservative anymore. A revolution would probably be dismissed by hard-line conservatives as a movement brought about by bleeding-heart liberals. How can we make a difference if we can't get past the political labels?

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Between new technology and the extreme polarization of political parties, a new counterculture is hard to organize - even though there is plenty to protest.

As cool as the '60s was and as much as we want to repeat it, the best way to create social awareness is by developing a new approach. Bongos, dreadlocks, bare feet and free-speech forums are all great for sharing ideas, but if we really want to start a new revolution, there needs to be a different kind of counterculture. Using the same tactics the hippies used in the '60s won't have a major effect because, as far-out as it was, we've seen it all before.

Colleen Shea is a sophomore majoring in journalism. Her column appears on Fridays.

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