Very little of what I’ve seen lately about the 1960s (especially in this 40th anniversary year of the Democrat Party’s Convention in Chicago) has been true to how I remember the time. And unlike some of the people I knew and worked with back then, I remember it all quite clearly. Maybe a little too clearly, as the Democrats convene in Denver this week.

As The World’s Oldest Baby Boomer, I was at once part of and apart from my peers. Whatever hope and optimism I had felt about America’s future in the 1960s had been generated by John Fitzgerald Kennedy. But by 1964, it was being overtaken by the everyday concerns of money, work, relationships -- the kinds of things you still wake up in the morning thinking about.

But another constant concern for guys like me was the military draft, as well as fear of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia, which was never off the table.

So for most of us white middle class Boomers in 1968, with a draft deferment of some sort, there wasn’t much time left in the day to think about the fires burning and people dying in Watts, Newark, Chicago and in other cities around the country since 1965– much less about the fires burning and people dying in Southeast Asia.

What tends to be forgotten in all of the Summer of Love and Swinging Sixties bloviating is the powerful undercurrent of anger and racial hatred that Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Wallace and others were able to tap into and use to rebuild the Republican Party after the Goldwater debacle in 1964.

Those of us who came a little unhinged by the live network coverage of blood and violence in the streets of Chicago during the Democrats’ Convention forty years ago thought that the "Whole World" was watching and coming to the same conclusion we were – why are the police beating up on these innocent people exercising their right to free speech?

But most of the rest of the country, we came to discover, was rooting for the police. Richard Nixon certainly understood this, and leveraged it all the way to The White House. The seeds for the racial, class and political polarization we talk about in 2008 were sown even before 1968.

And we later learned that not all the people demonstrating in the streets of Chicago forty years ago were innocent. It’s never that simple.

I think it was at that point that any residual Sixties hope and optimism evaporated, and most Americans really turned inward - and haven’t turned back since.