“One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold”
– Jefferson Airplane
This video, set to Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane, showcases iconic images of the 1960s that define its dynamic history which left a large imprint on that of drug enforcement in the US.
This song is not only a great rock track with emblematic guitar riffs that instantly transport the mind of the listener to a Woodstock-esque setting, but a call to arms for a generation to embody the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity that this nation was founded on. By striking down the discrimination of old, Volunteers encourages the young generation to realize the oppression that has manifested itself in the form of racism and inequality. This idea can be transferred to the drug use that characterized the 60s and this focus upon revolution coupled with massive and popular drug use encouraged a generation to get out of the system and try that which has been called ‘bad’ for so long by older and ‘wiser’ people. Instead of blindly complying with the law, this generation chose to fight the draft, to use drugs, and to denounce ‘the man’, all encouraging a rhetoric in contrast to the US government.
It is apparent that the spirit of the 1960s, aided by radical events such as the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and ’65 and Woodstock, transcended the confines of the decade and cries of revolution continued to be heard today as the drug war continues to oppress the rights of individuals who feel the liberty to use such substances. Ron Paul, a proclaimed libertarian who stands for freedom in the form of allowing consenting adults to partake in drug use through the ending of the War on Drugs, utilized propaganda that specifically highlights the idea of a revolution. The fact that a presidential candidate is campaigning on the rhetoric of ‘revolution’ in 2013 emphasizes the timelessness of the rally cry of the 1960s and the very present opinion that that which the government is doing is not aligned with the foundations upon which the US was created.
“Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers.” YouTube. YouTube. 18 Nov. 2013 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SboRijhWFDU>.
“The Counterculture of the 1960s.” The Counterculture of the 1960s. 18 Nov. 2013 <http://www.cliffsnotes.com/more-subjects/history/us-history-ii/the-new-frontier-and-the-great-society/the-counterculture-of-the-1960s>.