In August 1969, the historic Woodstock festival was held in upstate New York. It represented the apex of the counterculture movement of the 1960s and has come to occupy a privileged place in the folklore of the American left. Wikipedia describes it this way: “Especially memorable were the sense of social harmony, the quality of music, and the overwhelming mass of people, many sporting bohemian dress, behavior and attitudes.” It has spawned a successful movie and fawning references by three generations of politicians who desperately want to be seen as relevant and trendy by the elites from Manhattan to Hollywood.

One of those politicians aspires to be president of the United States. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, recently sponsored legislation that would have appropriated $1 million in federal taxpayer funds to construct a MUSEUM to Woodstock and all that it symbolizes. Leave aside her folly of constantly criticizing President Bush for deficit spending and then voting to appropriate money for this. What does this tell us about her mindset, things in her life that she finds important?  Was Woodstock really the antiseptic children’s celebration that it is now made out to be?

The answer is a resounding NO. The real legacy of Woodstock is not pretty. The event was highlighted by rampant drug use (several performers ultimately died of overdoses), unsanitary conditions and a general chaos due to overcrowding and inclement weather that threatened a widespread human disaster if not for the intervention of authorities. Indeed, “Woodstock Nation” did not last very long. Like most of the ’60s, it represented a collective descent into adolescence. Fortunately, our country woke up just in time, the mass hypnosis of the period ended and we went on, under Ronald Reagan, to the real business of life such as vanquishing international communism.

One wonders what other counterculture events Sen. Clinton would memorialize. How about a museum to the Chicago Seven? The Berrigan Brothers? Mario Savio and the Berkeley Free Speech Movement?

Fortunately, there were grownups even back in the ’60s when much of the country was losing its mind.  One of them was, and is, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Virginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda  MORE. In case you have forgotten, he was shot down over Vietnam and held at the “Hanoi Hilton” for seven years as a POW. He repeatedly refused to be returned by his captors to the U.S. ahead of the other POWs. As he noted in last week’s Republican debate in Orlando, Fla., he was “tied up” and could not attend the Woodstock festivities. So you can understand why he was a little more than annoyed when the junior senator from New York proposed a federal tax subsidy to promote the counterculture.

McCain has a new ad about this on his website, www.johnmccain.com. (It’s also on YouTube.) There you’ll see the grownup point of view and the folly of continuing to idolize, let alone subsidize, a thankfully short and forgettable period in our history. Peace through strength is as relevant and necessary today as it was back then.

Some things don’t change. The grown ups outlasted the flower children in the ’60s. We will have to do the same thing again beginning next year.