July 4 is an occasion for Americans to express their patriotism. But the ways we do so are as diverse as our nation.
Phil Ochs has his own cluster in my vinyl albums, right between the Notting Hillbillies and Roy Orbison.
Despite the conventional wisdom that patriotism means "my country -- right or wrong" and is best displayed by blind flag-waving, to many Americans patriotism means loyalty to a set of principles, and thus requires dissent and criticism when those in power violate those standards.
It is worth comparing Ochs' life to Robin Williams, since both artists were filled with authenticity, passion, love and idealism for a better society. In theatrical terms, they defined the tenets of catharsis and pathos.
The 1960s folk music scene was a chapter in a long story, one that began decades earlier and that continues today as a new generation of singers and songwriters connect -- directly and indirectly -- to the burgeoning progressive movements that are rippling across the country.
Fred W. McDarrah: Save the Village takes its name from the words painted on the side of an artist's studio on Greenwich Avenue, demolished in 1960 and memorably photographed by McDarrah. Its shadows remain in the literary and cultural walking tours that lace the neighborhood.
Tall, lanky, hip, delightfully buffoonish at times, yet serious, Hankin is the quintessential "that guy," instantly recognizable as Mr. Heckles on Friends or 'the Other Kramer,' who stole the raisins, on the pilot episode of Seinfeld.
The flag, as a symbol of the nation, is not owned by the administration in power, but by the people. We battle over what it means, but all Americans have an equal right to claim the flag as their own. Progressives understand that people can disagree with their government and still love their country and its ideals.