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From a Summer of Love to an Autumn of Hate

October 30, 2020

Take it from an old hippie: those rifle-toting men at the Michigan Capitol are not expressing love of anything.

Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

This year’s botch job is the 13th presidential election in which I’ve voted. I cast my first such vote for George McGovern in 1972. Oy vey ist mir.

Poor guy never had a chance.

It’s easy to make fun of hippies today, now that we’ve lost and we’re old. I do it myself. But I’ve never had an old hippie threaten to kill me, or call out supporters to burn my house down because of something I wrote that was published. Or — excuse me — retweeted. 

Man, O man, my fellow Americans: How did we slide so far so fast, from a Summer of Love to an Autumn of Hate?

The Summer of Love was 1967 — 53 years ago. Might not seem a long time ago to you, but it seems like yesterday to me.

Take it from an old hippie: When you cast a glance on years gone by, they are short, flying away fast. Doppler effect. That music fades out toward the flat side …

When you look at the year ahead, it looks like an enormous granite cliff, a mountain you’ll have to climb: El Capitan. White Cliffs of Dover. Music’s out of tune on the sharp side.

But all years are the same: 365¼ days. One trip around Mr. Sun.

How is it — or why is it — that in my short lifetime, the politics of the underdogs in the United States have changed from “Peace and Love!” to “Hate, Hate, Hate!”

Just thought I’d ask.

And don’t tell me that tattooed fat men in wannabe Army clothes toting semiautomatic rifles on the steps of the Michigan Capitol building are expressing love of anything: of “freedom,” or the Second Amendment, of Michigan or the United States.

They’re just whiners and showoffs, big fat babies, tryna emulate the Whiner in Chief they admire, for reasons that — I acknowledge — escape me.


  1. Which is better: Love or Hate?
  1. Love
  2. Hate
  3. No opinion
  1. Suppose a “businessman” paid $188,561 in taxes to China in two years, while paying only $750 a year in federal taxes to his own government — the United States of America. Would you say this guy is:
  1. On the take 
  2. On the make 
  3. Donald Trump
  4. All of the above
  1. Who is most likely to “steal” the 2020 presidential election?
  1. Poor black people in the South
  2. Undocumented immigrants
  3. The Republican Party
  4. William P. Barr


I voted. Did you? 

I still believe that our country can be a force for good in the world again.

Do you?

But first, our country — all of us — have to become a force for good again — here at home.

Categories / Op-Ed

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