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Sixties Project
Personal Narratives

The following narrative was submitted on 10 April, 1997, by Jim Campbell, who was born in 1946. If you'd like to contribute a narrative, please fill out our form. If your browser doesn't handle forms, just write us an email. For permission to reprint narratives, please contact Viet Nam Generation, Inc.

I began this period a hormone-crazed teenager and ended it a young man (although still hormone-crazed.). I began a fairly faithful Catholic, and finished as really a non-believer in any religion. I started in a somewhat intense, although long distance, love affair with a wonderful, red-haired, southern Illinois girl named JoAnn, and ended (after loving several other women -- to varying levels of intensity) with JoAnn, I think, still loving me, but slowly slipping away to what ended up being the arms of her future husband. Losing her, through no one's fault but mine, is the one thing about my actions in the Sixties that I truly do regret, and that is the one thing I would change if only I could.

I was a youthful Republican in 1960 -- Nixon all the way, but by 1968 I progressed to the point where I could cast a write-in vote for Eugene McCarthy. I began with not the ghost of an idea how much information the government hides (and has always hidden) from its citizens, and how little information even the most informed of citizens really has when they cast their ballots. I certainly am not unique in this belief, I realize, and I think future historians will somehow mark this decade as the one which began the disintegration of American society. As I write this, we have also become, as the Kerner Commission said, "two societies -- black and white -- separate and unequal." I think it cannot be reversed, or, rather, there is no segment of society willing to reverse it. The matter of increasing numbers of immigrants only add to the certainty. We are not a "melting pot," never have been, really. We are factionalized, and only the most ill-informed of our citizenry could think other than that we will, at the very best, push at least a long way down the road towards total anarchy - if not actually reach that point.

But all that being said, would I try to relive the Sixties if I could? I believe I would, if JoAnn were more a part of my life.

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