The sunshine patriots of 1976 celebrated the United States Bicentennial by slathering themselves in light California rock. ONE OF THESE NIGHTS (1975) by the Eagles, FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE! (1976), FLEETWOOD MAC (1975), Steve Miller Band's FLY LIKE AN EAGLE (1976) all were recorded in California and all charted on the Billboard's Year-End Hot 100 singles for 1976. FLY LIKE AN EAGLE had three top ten hits: "Take the Money and Run," "Rock'n Me" and "Fly Like an Eagle" (which though released as a single at the end of 1976, didn't chart until March of the following year). Go into any hardware store or walk onto any construction site in North America on any given day and chances are that you'll hear Tea Party politics and classic rock radio; and on that radio "Fly Like an Eagle" will be playing. Like the hackneyed insect trapped in prehistoric amber, Time keeps on slippin', slippin' slippin' into the past. The past is 1976. Gerald Ford is on his way out, having successfully managed the aftermath of the Watergate crisis with his controversial presidential pardon of Richard Nixon as well as having shrewdly got out front of the Church Committee and Nedzi/Pike Committee with his Rockefeller Commission and thereby arguably lessening some of the public outrage over revelations of the nefarious aspects of American Empire. This was a moment of structural weakness for the Leviathan, known in Iran as Great Satan. But the Hippies were no longer in any mood to confront "The Man." They elected an evangelizing peanut farmer from Plains, GA who promised them clean government but who ended up bequeathing us our current corrupt and exhausted neoliberal paradigm, hallmarks of which are rule by and for the 1%, government gridlock and permanent military occupation of the Persian Gulf (Carter Doctrine). So much promise evaporated between 1975 and 1980. We went from Empire exposed and on the defensive to Empire reborn. The Hippies could have done something. But they didn't; they were tired. They were content listening to their sun-drenched California rock, safe in suburbs and exurbs with their good dope and coke. The horizon was clear. The mists of the Aquarian Age had finally, after more than a decade, burned off. In 1976 things seemed, for the moment at least, peaceful, hopeful, new. Almost perfect. It's no wonder that the Hippies decided to kick back, enjoy the clear weather and "fly like an eagle to the sea."
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