The Impact Of The Hippie Counterculture Hippies And The Civil Rights Movement
Hippies were aware of the political turmoil the country was in. They sympathized with other movements which aimed to improve the human conditions for all individuals in the U.S. and promoted equality as well as equity. The hippie movement opposed the Vietnam war, but not because they were antiwar activists. Although some may have been antiwar sentiments, most hippies believed that going to fight in Vietnam or otherwise aiding the war in Vietnam meant one had succumbed to the "Establishment." This was contrary to their belief of rejecting everything that was pertinent to dominant U.S. society, politics or otherwise. Despite these beliefs, hippies were apolitical. It seems unusual that a group so visible to all of society could be apolitical or lack any real positions on important matters. While working for Look Magazine, William Hedgepeth joined the hippie movement in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in order to understand first-hand what the movement was all about. Hedgepeth found that many things meant nothing to the hippies of the Haight-Ashbury district. This was characterized by an encounter with a fellow tenant. After asking for the time, Hedgepeth was met with the following response: "Naw, man, we never know what time it is." Clearly, some hippies were so intent in rejecting the "establishment" that they even ignored time. Furthermore, Hedgepeth found that the hippie movement valued individualism. Each hippie wants to "do this thing" and they preach that "you don't try to force your 'thing' on anyone else."