transformation of cultural

Social Movements Are Much More Partisan Than They Used to Be
There are definite parallels between today’s protests and those of the 1960s, when Graham Nash
wrote his classic anthem, “Teach Your Children.” But increased polarization means changes in
tactics and goals.
Ronald Brownstein Aug 2, 2018 https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/graham-nash-march-for-our-lives-blacklives-matter/566639/
The rock star Graham Nash had a thought while he watched the “March for Our Lives”
gun-control protests led by the survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, this spring.
“We teach our children the best way we can,” he told me this week, “but we have to learn from
our children, too, or else we are making a big mistake.”
When he’d had much the same thought nearly a half-century ago, as protests erupted all
around him, it inspired him to write his classic anthem, “Teach Your Children.” This time,
the resurgence in grassroots protest against President Donald Trump led him to work with the
artist and animator Jeff Scher to produce a new video for the song, linking the social
movements of the 1960s with the proliferating protests of the present day. But while the
video convincingly draws parallels, it also highlights a key difference between the two eras.
The relentless polarization of the political landscape since the 1960s has rendered social
movements more partisan—changing both their tactics and their goals in the process.
In 1968, when he started the song, Nash was still a member of the bouncy British pop
group the Hollies. But he didn’t finish it until after he moved to Los Angeles and joined David
Crosby and Stephen Stills to create the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash, known for its silky
harmonies and intricate lyrics.
It was his interest in photography that indirectly inspired him to complete the song, Nash
said. Nash collected photographs (and was an amateur photographer himself), and after CSN’s
first album hit big, a college museum asked him to provide some works from his collection for
an exhibit. When Nash visited the hall, he found the gallery had paired two of the most striking
images he owned: a famous Diane Arbus photo that showed a child holding a toy hand grenade
in Central Park and an Arnold Newman portrait of the Krupp family, German arms
manufacturers. Nash told me
“Images talk to each other … and when I saw those two pictures together, I realized if we
didn’t teach our children a better way of dealing with our world, we were in deep trouble.
And that caused me to finish that song.”
By the time Nash finished writing, Neil Young had joined the group, which was renamed
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The last piece clicked into place when Crosby convinced the
Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia to play pedal steel guitar on the track. Nash remembered
“Even though he had only been playing it a very short time and, I believe, had never
played it on record, Jerry loved the song and he brought his pedal steel into the studio and
that was his first take.”
Garcia produced a buoyant twang that connected the song to American traditions of folk
and country—musically grounding Nash’s conciliatory message of generations learning from
each other to find a better future. When “Teach Your Children” was released from CSNY’s
album Déjà Vu in March of 1970, it became a top-20 single.
For the new video, Nash teamed up with Scher, who divided the song in two. For the first
half, Scher painted black-and-white images drawn from iconic moments of the 1960s protests:
the civil-rights and anti-war movements; Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1963 March on
Washington; African American athletes raising clenched fists on the medal stand at the 1968
Olympics; the shooting of the protesters at Kent State.
For the second half, Scher created color images of today’s signature protests: Emma
Gonzalez at the March for Our Lives in Washington; Black Lives Matter marches; Colin
Kaepernick and other football players taking a knee; demonstrators demanding an end to the
separation of undocumented children from their parents—all punctuated by paintings of a
scowling, shouting Trump. In each case, Scher based his paintings on real images, taken mostly
from a collection accumulated by his wife, the graphic designer Bonnie Siegler, for her recent
book, Signs of Resistance.
The images from the two eras, to borrow Nash’s phrase, seemed to “talk to each other,”
visually linking the generations in common purpose and shared commitment. The present
echoes, but extends, the past. “The song is so lovely and about halfway through it goes from
‘teach your children’ to children teaching your parents,” Scher said. “So [the shift from past to
present] is built into the song. And the parallels that it’s 50 years from ’68 to now are just
overwhelming. So it was a short leap.”
In tracing the “short leap” between the two generations’ goals, though, the video is
also a reminder of how large a gulf separates the two political environments.
 The 1960s movements kept their distance from partisan politics, because they found
allies and adversaries in each party.
 Democratic presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson launched the Vietnam
War; Southern Democratic senators defended segregation.
 In both cases, many conservative Republicans supported them;
 but moderate and liberal Republicans joined with many northern Democrats in
opposition.
 “The ’60s and ’70s movements are in a certain sense nonpartisan,” said the Columbia
University sociologist Todd Gitlin, a leading student of the era’s protests. “They have
plenty of anger to go around at people of every party.”
By contrast, after decades of unrelenting political polarization and ideological sorting
between the parties,
 most of today’s social movements confront a Trump-led Republican Party almost
uniformly hostile to their priorities.