The 1970s were a special decade.
Slats, of course, would tell you that some of his best years were spent working alongside Jean-Claude Killy as the famed alpine ski champion attempted to reboot his ski-racing career. Then again, he would also say that his brief tenure as an assistant road manager for the Eagles during their Hotel California Tour also constituted his “best years.” He is not the most reliable narrator of his own life story, but that is a defining characteristic of those who were young adults during the “Me Decade.”
Slats did not practice many of the celebrated excesses of those of his generation, but he sympathized with those who possessed more relaxed attitudes regarding consciousness-altering. While not a toker himself, he embraced the mellow lifestyle.
And while he supports full-on legalization, he related to me his considerable amusement that even some modern-era Republicans support common-sense decriminalization of the plant.
“The GOP base must be fuming. Guess they lost another battle in the culture wars,” he laughed. “Hey, did I tell you about my work in the Jamaican elections? Let me tell you, Peter Tosh would be Prime Minister today if it wasn’t for that madness in ’87.”
He launched into a history of the People's National Party and their unfortunate electoral setbacks in the face of a global conservative shift in the late 70s/early 80s. Reagan, Thatcher, Seaga- it was all related.
But, over time, some societal values changed. The sphere of individual liberty expanded and the liberals of the ‘70s eventually found greater acceptance of, and legal protection for, certain rights they were denied during the decade of Watergate and Malaise.
Progress is not assured, it is neither consistently nor fairly applied, it often comes with fits and starts, and occasional retreats…but it is the American Promise that a road toward a more perfect Union should always be open. It is our choice as to whether or not we take that path.
And now, from the aforementioned Tour:
Stay tuned, as more will follow.