How Nixon Destroyed Our Last
Great Chance To Save The Earth
By James Donahue
They were called the Hippies. It was an exciting time of
mind expansion through the excessive use of LSD, marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelic substances. It was an era of rock bands, Woodstock,
communal living, unconditional love, the anti-Vietnam War movement, and saving the environment. It was a time of the last
great genius in music like that produced by The Beatles, Pink Floyd or The Doors; and writing like that of Aldus Huxley, Hunter
Thompson, and Allen Ginsberg.
Sparked perhaps by the Vietnam War, an unpopular conflict
in a far-away place against an enemy that was not clearly defined, the youth of America went into excessive rebellion as their
friends, brothers and fathers came home in body bags and military funerals were held across the land. The war was televised
nightly to everybody’s living rooms so the sense of the horror of it all was crammed into America’s consciousness
While students demonstrated against the war, wore tie-die
shirts, drove brightly painted Volkswagen vans and got stoned to the music of the Grateful Dead, dark events were occurring
in high places. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. His Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson took office
and then won an overwhelming election to a full term in 1964. The Democrats rode his shirttails into office, taking over both
the House and Senate, thus giving Johnson unlimited power. With that he escalated the war and launched massive job training
programs in what was called his “guns and butter policy.” It didn’t fly and four years later, Republican
Richard M. Nixon was elected to office.
Nixon took over in February, 1969. He immediately began
a program designed to tear down the American Hippie movement and drug culture. Big business decided that it could no longer
allow a movement that was forcing it to stop polluting and spend billions of dollars cleaning up the environment.
The sensational break-in of the home of famed Hollywood
film maker Roman Polanski became the catalyst for the Nixon Administration’s big move. The break-in and the murder of
Polanski’s wife, actress Sharon Tate by a gang of hoods, all members of a so-called “Hippie family” living
with Charles Manson on an abandoned movie set in Death Valley was a sensational story. All of the killers were eventually
arrested, including Manson, and the trial was highly publicized.
As the facts unraveled, it was revealed that Manson was
not present during the Tate murder case, or any of the other murders the gang was implicated with. But the district attorney,
Vincent T. Bugliosi, argued that Manson had created a religious cult and had the ability to control the minds of his “family.”
Bugliosi charged that Manson ordered the killings to start a race war. The story was based on circumstantial evidence. There
never was any proof that Manson’s little hippie colony in the desert was involved in any kind of religious practices.
But Manson was an outspoken man with dark piercing eyes and a dynamic personality. The media did a good job of demonizing
him. That Manson had a Nazi symbol marked on his forehead helped turn him into a national symbol of evil.
Nixon turned Manson into the “ultimate Hippie.”
Before the trial began, President Nixon condemned Manson
on public television, calling him a dangerous cult leader. What he did destroyed any chance Manson had for a fair trial and
it stigmatized the hippie movement.
Manson’s fall brought about the death of the American
hippie movement. He was portrayed as pure evil, his photograph often shown with that of Adolph Hitler. Anyone linked to unconditional
love, loving the Earth, or drugs was suddenly associated with Manson. The entire hippie movement shriveled up and died overnight.
The next move Nixon made was to declare a war on drugs in
America. About a year after the Manson fiasco, Nixon named drug abuse as “public enemy number one in the United States”
and created a Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention. While heroin and cocaine were correctly included in the list
of dangerous drugs, the government also listed the psychedelic drugs as well, even though no evidence existed to show that
they were dangerous to human health. Some scientists, including Psychologist Dr. Timothy Leary, believed LSD and mushrooms
were a possible solution to mental illness.
Ironically, Nixon was a heavy user of amphetamine during
his years as president. His sweaty face, black dilated pupils, and reported bouts of paranoia, especially during the Watergate
scandal that toppled his presidency, were well known to Americans. Yet it was Nixon, the Republican pawn of big business interests,
who brought down not only the Hippie earth movement, but the fashionable psychedelic drug culture.
That movement, and the “Beat Generation” that
preceded it, was the result of the work of Aleister Crowley, who some might portray as the world’s first hippie. Crowley
used mind expanding drugs, dressed down in casual clothes, and practiced unconditional love and taught respect for the environment.
The Hippie movement may have been the world’s last
chance to recognize the looming environmental dangers, choose a new spiritual path, and tear away from the enslaving religious
systems that have held society in chains for too long.
Crowley recognized the threat to the Mother Earth even in
his time. He wrote of the dying Earth, of the great mother scorched and dying, pleading for a child; another chance to replenish
life on her burned and smoldering surface. He had a vision of the future.
The American Hippie Movement occurred when we still had a
chance to save the planet. But that generation blew its chance. In spite of all the drugs consumed, it was all done for recreation
and high times. After Nixon declared the war on drugs, everything went underground, the hippie movement evolved into something
called the Rainbow Family which still gathers each year, usually in some secluded place.
The young people hugged trees and thrilled at the visions
of the living planet while the veil was temporarily lifted under the effects of the psychedelic drugs. That generation even
launched a movement for saving the environment. The movement was strong enough to bring about legislation designed to clean
up our toxic rivers, streams, ground and air. But after the Nixon caper, the Hippies went back into their shells. A remnant
that evolved into something called the Rainbow Family still exists, but the members are harassed by police whenever they meet.
The Republican administration under George W. Bush, also
the pawn of big business interests, skillfully dismantled much of the good work accomplished in the 1960s. President Barack
Obama and other world leaders, alarmed by the extreme weather changes, melting ice caps, poisoned seas and polluted land and
air, are now struggling to bring about controls on industrial waste, without much success.
Ironically the people who once were among the Hippies are
now running the country. They have become steeped in materialism. And they have forgotten what they saw, what they learned
and who they once were.
A Gallop poll only five years ago showed that most Americans
were not alarmed by the signs that the planet is warming and in trouble. Their attitude was that it won’t happen during
their lives, and it will be their children’s problem to solve. Now with extreme weather changes affecting nearly everyone’s
lives, attitudes are quickly changing. But is it too late?
The problem has now become so grave, even our best thinkers
and scientists may lack the mental capability of solving a problem that could have been easily resolved only 50 years ago.
All we needed to do was clean up the toxic waste, stop wasting resources and stop overpopulating.
Nixon once said it was fear that controlled the people. He
used fear to tear down a movement that might have saved our planet and lead us all into a new and higher spiritual plane.
The impact of Nixon’s crimes will affect us all for a very long time to come.