My Hippie Vietnam War Professor Was Right About the Dangers of the Patriot Act | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

My Hippie Vietnam War Professor Was Right About the Dangers of the Patriot Act

In the spring following 9/11, the War on Terror had already begun, and I was taking a college course on the Vietnam War. It was a unique course for the time, as most of us didn’t attend the live class, but students were given a choice to purchase the lectures on DVD or, as I did, go to the library and watch them on VHS.

It was a great course, but what was most memorable was our Yahoo Groups private message board for the class. It was here where most of the discourse took place. This college kids’ message board in the post-9/11 world wasn’t a hippie lovefest, though, as anyone looking at college campuses at most other times in the last sixty years might imagine. Despite our professor having organized a left-wing curriculum of reading, and despite his having spent a lot of digital ink in his effort, he failed to convince his students that the cultural touchstones we’d known all our lives, like the existence of POWs in Vietnam after the war or the fact that hippies had ever spit on American soldiers upon returning from war, were just right-wing myths created to smear the anti-war effort.

He might have gotten away with that today, but we all had fathers and uncles who fought in that war and lived through it, and many of us weren’t convinced by those arguments, or his efforts to paint Communism as more of a benign global phenomenon than the murderous and tyrannical scourge that it is.

But there’s one exchange where my professor was certainly right, and we were wrong.