With all of the college students furloughed home to study online, it’s hard to believe the last time American campuses shut down was springtime a half century ago. Make that the ONLY time.
It was different, though, in several key ways.
The kids weren’t told to pack up and go home. No, we stayed together rather than scattered.
The strikes came from the students and then faculty as a protest against administrators and national events, rather than orders from the top-down.
They were triggered by the slayings of unarmed students at Jackson State in Mississippi and Kent State in Ohio by police and national guardsmen. (Sorry about the pun.)
There were other factors as well.
For those who are interested, my novel Daffodil Uprising covers much of that experience.
What’s happening today reflects a much different generational divide.
We shared a dream, and our career options appeared wide-open, though they chilled greatly in an economic downturn later that spring. We felt a hippie kinship across much of the nation. And we were angry.
By the way, we weren’t burdened by tuition debt, much less one we’d likely never be able to pay off over our working lifetime.
At the moment, the generational divide I’m watching is an attitude many have that Covid-19 is just for old folks (like me) or those with preexisting conditions (like some younger people I’m worrying about). Some of them think they’re immune or won’t get truly sick. As one I overheard saying, “I’d take a coronavirus for the team.” Oh, dear.
Let’s get real. I’ll go back to that report from France, where half of the intensive care beds were occupied by people under 30.
Still, there’s much more in this generational divide that’s simply festering. We ignore it at our own peril. What’s your take?