Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tom Hayden, 1939-2016

From the bottom of the ocean,
To the mountains of the moon . . .
Won't you please come to Chicago?
No one else can take your place.
- Graham Nash

Tom Hayden, the left-wing activist who died recently at the age of 76, worked for the greater good all of his adult life and never wavered in his belief and his causes.  From early days as the founder of Students for a Democratic Society, which demanded military disarmament and expansion of freedom to blacks and to workers of all races in the South, to the streets of Newark, New Jersey, where Hayden lived and worked to improve the lot of the city's poor residents at the time of the city's 1967 riot, to the mass protests against the Vietnam that got him charged as part of the Chicago Seven for inciting a riot, Hayden yielded nothing in his campaign for justice, peace and freedom.  His instigation of demonstrations against the war exposed the hypocrisy of the American Cold War psychosis as it pertained to U.S. policy in Southeast Asia.
In later years, during and after his marriage to actress and fellow activist Jane Fonda, Hayden challenged the establishment by working within it, getting elected to the California legislature - first as an assemblyman than as a senator - and pushing his agenda for a better lot for the common people and  for the greater good.  His affiliation with the Democratic Party was a vehicle with which to promote his values, though now the Democrats are a mainstream corporate party that has nothing to do with the idealism of the people of Hayden's generation who sought to infiltrate it. Some of those same people abandoned that idealism - and some of those lost idealists are now working in the Clinton circle - but Tom Hayden remained unbroken and unbent to the end.  RIP. :-(        

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