I look back at it, reflect for a moment or two, and I would do it all again.
Whatever beliefs I had by then, whatever values I had established along with the beliefs, whatever core around which I wrapped my soul essentially fueled my thoughts at the time.
Our college had hosted speakers who expounded on the value of protecting our freedom by being in Viet Nam. We had Armed Forces recruiters in every uniform imaginable stationed in our Quad, in the cafeteria and in the Student Union. The ROTC was allowed to conduct their soldier boy drills and exercises and “maneuvers” on the campus football field.
We were not allowed to maintain a running list of our war dead in the campus newspaper. We had a long list of “subversive” songs we were not to play on the campus radio station. Those of us in a theatre ensemble group funded by the school were not permitted to conduct a peaceful, “theatrical” protest against the war either in the Quad or the theater.
The concept of “Free Speech” as granted by the Founding Fathers in the First Amendment (like it was really their place to do it) implies the corresponding idea of the exchange of that speech, the exchange of opinions, the exchange of beliefs. Of all speech and opinions and beliefs and ideals, not just the popular ones or the ones with the most money and muscle behind them.
And there have always been people who have major trouble with that being a two-way street.
And that escalated that night entering the Chapel for Abbie’s speech, as did the war in Southeast Asia and the war at home, to the point that there were veiled threats from some factions on campus regarding the appearance of some damn Commie pinko hippie faggot who once tried to get enough people together to surround the Pentagon and (so help me Benjamin Franklin) levitate the place.
And, of course, the suggestions kept flying our way that if we didn’t care for our national or our campus ideologies, well then we could just “Love it or Leave it”.
Like those were the only options those Neanderthals would allow us and they were the only ones who had the power to make that offer.
My heart today drives me in the same direction it did back then. My thoughts follow, while my actions could take a spur trail every now and then.
But looking back I could see taking every step I took that night all over again under similar circumstances, however …
this time around I think I’d have tackled the Public Defender before he even got to the Courtroom doors and have the whole damned bunch of us go in and deal with the pompous Prosecutor ourselves.
Know what I mean? Gut level, knee-jerk reaction, but I’d sure be thinking about it.
But first, I believe I would think about sneaking in the back door of the Chapel with Abbie dressed up like a maintenance drone.
That American flag shirt of his kind of drew attention to him: not that it was that pattern, it was carved out of an actual flag.
And by the way, the recruiters were removed from the campus.
The same bunch of us who wanted them off talked the local inn into giving them use of their banquet hall five days a week and till noon on Saturdays.
Even later if there wasn’t a wedding booked.
It was their right.
They had theirs, we had ours, and they were both the same.
No one got a special “package deal” in the fine print at the bottom of the Constitution.
So today, to those who have a major problem with the direction they hallucinate this country is taking, to those who take the Second Amendment to mean whatever it is they want and nothing less than that, to those who believe that there Marxist Kenyan boy is gonna be sending them there black helicopters to haul them all off and put they kids in some reendockernashun camps, and to those for whom our status as a Representative Republic – NOT a democracy – infuriates them whenever it doesn’t go their way…
I’ll be generous.
I’ll give them four choices:
Hell, ol’ Barry ain’t delivering all that he promised he would, he’s forgotten all about some of it and some of what he has actually delivered has been somewhat ineffective. He had a mess to clean up and we’re still stepping in some of that. And he’s piled on some of his own for the next sucker to work on.
And which President hasn’t done that? Which Administration hasn’t? Which Senate? Which House?
Oh yeah, I forgot: only the ones you voted for. Ain’t that how it works? It’s always the other guy?
And if your guy does drop the ball, it’s none of your doing. If the other guy drops it, that makes anyone who voted for him an equally responsible idiot.
That mindset is rampant among the most reasonable of us.
So all those Über-patriots and sovereign citizens can stick their dicks back in their holsters and their balls back in their ammo belts ’cause they ain’t “taking back” shit …
and I say that because I have more faith in the United States of America than they ever did in their wettest flag-waving dreams.
They’re coming closer to destroying this country than bin Laden ever dreamt possible in his.
For God’s sake, even al-Qaeda can recognize when someone’s gone a little too rogue.
Hate to be the one to break it to you, but there are an amazing amount of intellectually inbred invertebrates who just cannot fathom that this country does not “belong” only to them and their like-minded, pudd-whackin’, knuckle-draggin’, open-mouth-chewin’ drinkin’ buddies.
People like me – we ain’t gonna do much to get in their way. Don’t have to. We’ll just sit here and watch the bunch of them take each other out in some Mel Gibson / William Wallace frenzy, because for those of them who are panty-wetting terrified of diversity there will never be anybody who is enough like them to be safe.
The GOP has turned into the UFC, the Democrats would be bitch-slappin’ each other senseless if they weren’t in the White House, and that’s just the start of things.
We freaks’ll be content with sitting around hugging whatever trees their corporate deities allow to remain standing, waiting to clean up the mess they leave behind if nothing else.
We might not have changed the world as much as we had in mind,
but those motherfuckers ain’t changed us in the least.
This whole diatribe started with a story from “back in the day”.
And those days are back.
God help America.