home

Re-Create '68?

Hi. It's Sunday night and we just finished dinner here at Jerri's house where Lynn Goldsmith has now joined us for the week.  As the actual Convention inches closer, and I finished the final exam today for Journalism, I'm starting to feel those pangs again without Hunter. So, it's a blessing to be witnessing this (hopefully) historic DNC with two amazing women and listen to them talk, over a shared Pad Thai stir fry tonight, about their experiences at the1969 protest in Washington. [more...]

They both bused in from University of Michigan, although they didn't know each other at the time, to join the rest of the 600,000+ protesters to protest the Vietnam War.  This was a year after Chicago 1968 ,which is a shared experience that although turned into a bloody nightmare, was a special time in America.  Of course, the following year would end in the massacre at Kent State.

But so intense was the1968 DNC nightmare that there seems to be a nostalgia that surrounds it, and makes those of us who were not alive or around at the time almost envy it. Why? The group in charge of today's protest even call themselves recreate 68.

I listened to Jerri and Lynn talk about their experiences, who are now both successful women who remember that era of American history. It was indeed bizarre to listen to the stories of 1968, `69, '70, not just from Hunter over the years, but now with Lynn and Jerri, while surrounded with DNC press gift bags sponsored by Qwest, AT&T and other mega brands. Jerri and Lynn sill work full time for those values of the 60s, despite the fact that the convention is funded by corporations.

As I watch the journalist bloggers and photographers, videographers, protesters, even tourists in Denver this weekend, it brings up one of Hunter's passages:

There is probably some long-standing "rule" among writers, journalists, and other word-mongers that says: "When you start stealing from your own work, you're in bad trouble." And it may be true. I am growing extremely weary of writing constantly about politics. My brain has become a steam-vat; my body is turning to wax and bad flab; impotence looms; my fingernails are growing at a fantastic rate of speed - they are turning into claws...People are beginning to notice, I think, but f*ck them. I am beginning to notice some of their problems too...

-- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.

Until next time, your friend,
Anita Thompson

< Re-Create 68? | Report: Springsteen to Close Convention After Obama Speech >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Display: Sort:
    Triumph of Ideas (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 12:47:10 AM EST
    My main impression from being here thus far is... wow, people have a lot of ideas. Good ones, questionable ones, strange ones, those that are conventional and uncouth... and while the advancement of the Internet has brought that to light somewhat, there is NOTHING like seeing it in person. Signs, banners, people passing out literature on the street, panels, discussions, causes... it's all a little overwhelming, and it puts a big giddy-up in my step, too.

    There have been some protests already, as Jeralyn and Anita mention, but not only are they civil and orderly, they get their ideas across very effectively. They communicate and make points of their displeasure without creating a tense environment or devolving the level of discourse. And that is perhaps the most beautiful thing I've witnessed here so far--the clear, unedited broadcasting of ideas from people around the country, and perhaps around the world. All in one place. The sheer quantity and quality of the differing ideas, mixed with all the passion and sincerity involved... it just makes me feel ecstatic on the inside. This is what I want to be a part of. This is why I believe in America.

    I am glad to note that as far as I have noticed, there has been no overprotectiveness or attempts at stifling debate by the police or convention officials, although it could perhaps be argued that the real thing doesn't start until tomorrow. The policemen I talked to were very friendly in helping me with things like directions and one even suggested some cheaper places for me to eat since I'm on a student budget.

    I'm going to the Monday night speeches tomorrow, and heading around to... not just the protests, but the historical sites here at the convention. There is a fascinating booth set up here about the evolution of Democratic Party politics since 1900, and it lays out different policies and notes from varying conventions... boy, I love that stuff.

    Any ol' who. This is Dalton, signing off from Denver, which is right now the most magical place in the world.

    You are definitely in the right place (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 12:50:43 AM EST
    at the right time for you.  Enjoy.

    Parent
    This sounds very good (none / 0) (#8)
    by weltec2 on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 12:57:34 AM EST
    Dalton. Thanks for the update. I hope you keep them coming.

    Parent
    is le luminaea luminating? (none / 0) (#13)
    by Salo on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:20:17 AM EST
    Dominus Illuminatio Mea

    Parent
    Sounds like you are going to have (none / 0) (#18)
    by Grace on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:34:25 AM EST
    a fantastic time there!  Keep us updated.

    Parent
    Oh, Dalton (none / 0) (#25)
    by stxabuela on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 07:13:28 AM EST
    You've brought tears to my eyes.  I remember leaving small town TX for UT--Austin.  So many different ideas, and different people from a thousand different places.  

    Hold on to the magic, Dalton.  

    Parent

    Yay (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Eleanor A on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:04:24 AM EST
    What a treat to log on and read this tonight, from my ensconcement at some chain hotel in Denver Tech Center...

    Although I gotta confess, just tonight I was telling someone Joe Biden is just a tired old hack who should be sent out to sea in a bottle with the Japanese current...;)

    (Another confession:  I'm festooned in Hillary gear and so far nary a cross word from any of the Obama folks, short of one guy working at the DIA car rental who wanted to know if I was gonna change my mind and didn't take kindly to my terse "no"...)

    Actually Joe is not (none / 0) (#16)
    by weltec2 on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:26:07 AM EST
    really that old. He's only 65 though he did have two brain aneurysms back in the 80s. They were successfully operated on and kept him out of the Senate for several months, but he seems to be fine now.

    Parent
    In 1968, @ the time of the DNC (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by txpolitico67 on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:07:11 AM EST
    convention, I wasn't even a year old, but my Mom and my aunt Pauline, who was SUPER active in politics all the way until she died, told me all about their take on the violence at the Dem convention.

    Being a student of history, I took it upon myself to read about the events of Chicago 1968 and why things exploded the way they did.  I am not one to romanticize ANYTHING but I can sympathize why things deteriorated they way they did.  Democrats were supposed to be the less bellicose of the two parties, and LBJ led the party down a path of a war.  I read that the taunts of "Hey hey LBJ, how many kids did u kill today?" REALLY bothered him.

    But I guess not enough.  And not enough to quell the dissent of the protesters of 1968.  As I stated in another post, I don't mind some in your face action to fight for the right causes (end to war, end the death penalty,  family planning freedoms, ERA) but I guess where do we draw the line?

    MLK once said that 'violence is the language of the unheard.'  Now, if the almost 18,000,000 voters who voted for Senator Clinton aren't being heard is their "violence" justified?  What is OUR recourse?  I think that staggering numbers of people showing up would make a difference but then again, they would just be rounded up and sent to the Gitmo of the Rockies.  Not that any GOOD activist wouldn't mind being arrested.  Heck it's a badge of honor.

    So as we enter the week of the convention I will, as always, get my information from Tl and specifically Jeralyn, since she has a press pass and is so well-connected to give us the low down through her prism, which, I usually agree with.

    I hope you all are having a fabulous time in CO and being surrounded by SO many like-minded people.  I LOVE Democratic conventions.  The fellowship that it creates gives me a lot of energy to keep up the good fight.  Because if we don't who will?

    Gosh! You are making me feel (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Grace on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:47:43 AM EST
    like we should all head to Denver...  

    (Doesn't this sound like that one Steven King novel?)

    Anyway -- Yes!  Protest!  18,000,000 votes should count for something and maybe we haven't been vocal enough!  

    In 1968, I was going into the 6th grade.  We were living near Monterey, CA.  My father was in the military.  I wanted RFK to win the primary and after he was killed, I just didn't care much anymore.  (I still have a photo of me at the Salinas airport with RFK while he was on the campaign trail.)  Gosh, that seems like such a very long time ago.  

    Parent

    in teh 1860s (none / 0) (#12)
    by Salo on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:16:50 AM EST
    they called such events "draft riots". A term that ought or ought not come back into fashion.

    Parent
    I was 14 (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by stxabuela on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 07:03:49 AM EST
    And 1968 was an insane year.  It seemed as if the fabric of the country was tearing apart.

    I wish.... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 09:34:41 AM EST
    people cared today like they did back then....I wish we cared enough to tear at the fabric and stitch it up better and more free than it was before.

    Nowadays we seem content to go down with the ship as its sold down the river...too fat, lazy, and afraid to fight perhaps?

    Parent

    Another story from '68 (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by andrys on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 08:13:35 AM EST
    My travel partner's house was used as an overnight spot for Chicago 7 folks.  Abbie Hoffman got something from the icebox (she doesn't know exactly what, but some leftovers) and he wound up at the hospital later that night for food poisoning.
    She was somewhat mortified  :-)

    i was 14 and (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by cpinva on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 08:34:41 AM EST
    living in the DC area in 69. i had seen all the activities from the "mule train" on up to "resurrection city" up close and personal (the mule train went by our house, on rt. 1, on its way to DC), my father was a recently retired, combat veteran marine.

    having grown up and gone to private school with the sons and daughters of various military elites, most of whose parents thought vietnam was, by that time, a huge clusterf*ck, i was tired of all these people coming in from the outside, and making my world even more difficult than it already was. enough already! go back home and protest in your own back yard, instead of messing up mine constantly!

    it was exciting, up to a point. the point where it was a neverending stream of idiots from elsewhere, determined to mess up where i lived, then leave, without helping to clean up.

    unlike a lot of those protestors, i also got to see, live and in person, the direct human affects of vietnam, since quantico naval hospital was where i went for treatment, and they had two wards of wounded marines there.

    not at all a pleasant sight. it made me realize, at a young age, the true cost of war, in human blood and sacrifice. my dad knew a lot of those guys, who, for the most part, were still gungy. they also told him not to go, if he could avoid it.

    that's what i remember about 69.

    Anita (none / 0) (#1)
    by weltec2 on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 12:27:29 AM EST
    is there supposed to be a link attached to
    "recreate 68."? If there is, it isn't working.


    Fixed. Sorry. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Anita Thompson on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 12:32:18 AM EST
    Thanks Anita (none / 0) (#7)
    by weltec2 on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 12:54:11 AM EST
    I personally would not want to recreate 68. I was in the Army at the time and I felt it was embarrassing and very depressing. I would however like an end to silly costumes and silliness of any kind.

    Further, name-calling, mocking, and taunting only close the ears of those we want to reach.

    If we expect to be taken seriously, we must behave in an adult serious fashion. I'm sorry if this sounds old-fashioned but the people that we want to reach are people who are only going to be convinced by substance presented in an organized way that respects their intelligence.

    Parent

    I was an antiwar protester at the time (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Cream City on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:24:51 AM EST
    and married my Viet vet when he came home a couple of years later.

    It was a hard time.  I hope you're well.

    What I remember most from the Chicago '68 convention was when my mother came home injured from it -- from Chicago cops.  She was a journalist there.

    So all of you covering this one, please be aware, as I learned, that protests can turn on a dime at any time.  I never will forget what it's like to be  tear-gassed.  And as my mother learned, you don't want to be too close when covering a protest.  The cops don't care who's in the way.

    And I know Denver cops aren't Chicago cops.  But when a protest suddenly turns, it's just chaos.

    Parent

    I agree. The complaint I heard over and (none / 0) (#30)
    by hairspray on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 11:14:38 AM EST
    over was the taunting and dismissing of the soldiers by the anti-war crowd. But I was young then and opposed to the war so I was happy that the protesters made the public (who were sound asleep) wake up and take notice. I was surprised how difficult it was to get Americans to turn against the war.  I am still surprised at the sleeping giant of citizenry.

    Parent
    Reminding me of Barbara Raskin's (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 12:38:53 AM EST
    wonderful 1987 novel:  Hot Flashes.  The narrator has the first shift baby sitting all the kids.  Then she walks across the bridge towards the Pentagon but everyone else is leaving the march to go home.  

    An aside. While searching for (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 12:47:03 AM EST
    Hot Flashes on line, I first looked for Florence King, thinking what I recalled reading about the march on the Pentagon was her Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady. Little did I know she was, until 2002, a conservative columnist for The National Review!!!

    Parent
    just went to the museum... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Salo on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:15:18 AM EST
    ...here in tucson, and there's a very cool exhibition of Mexican photographers, collected by the Margolis Foundation. Couple of interesting protest pictures.

    Silver miners on strike in 2008--they are wearing only hard hats and cowboy boots (some cupping some not)  A photo of a barricade in Oaxaca made from molotov cocktails and one scene where ladies in Poblana skirts are handbagging Federal troops all very recent events. real riots real isues...maybe the 68ers could bugger off down to the real action.

    Great show should travel.  

    please post off topic comments (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:24:14 AM EST
    on an open thread, thanks.

    Parent
    about protests in art. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Salo on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:46:01 AM EST
    No need to recreate 68 in Mexico. It's happening every other weekend in certain provinces.

    Parent
    October 1969, while Jeralyn was (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 01:53:10 AM EST
    going from Ann Arbor to D.C., we were moving back from D.C. to Ann Arbor.  Spent a week in late August in San Francisco and environs, including an anti-war protest outside the St. Francis hotel at Union Square.  Nixon hung in effigy.  Mounted police arrived, and everyone started backing up.  Pretty frightening.  Then to the rallies Rennie Davis organized in Ann Arbor.  The president of U of M was at the first rally we attended.  

    This made me (none / 0) (#22)
    by weltec2 on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 03:30:19 AM EST
    laugh. This is Denver for heaven sakes.

    Now if they had caught me with a bottle of wine in each hand... for that they should send Nancy scurrying and call the police. Wap! Pow! Smack!

    Anti-war protesters (none / 0) (#29)
    by Fen on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 09:43:45 AM EST
    to join the rest of the 600,000+ protesters to protest the Vietnam War

    I wish you could get their thoughts on why the Peace movement hasn't staged any protests of Russia's rape of Georgia.

    Even better, if you run across any anti-war protesters, ask them directly. Do they have any plans? What are their thoughts, etc?

    Because it makes the entire movement appear to be fake. And its difficult to defend them as anti-war when they only protest America.

    The only people we can change are (none / 0) (#31)
    by hairspray on Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 11:24:22 AM EST
    ourselves.  And when we do that we change the way we respond to others.  Try it in your personal life and you will see it works.  Americans can only protest to their government about those actions.  Our government must then examine their own motives and actions and try to bring a different paradigm into the world.  Try system thinking instead of linear thinking.  

    Parent
    That's a cop out (none / 0) (#32)
    by Fen on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 06:47:42 AM EST
    US "Peace" protestors routinely march against Israeli violence against Palestine, Chineese violence against Tibet, etc. And they don't simply demonstrate to reach the US government, they speak to the entire world, deliberately.

    So where are they now? Are they so consumed with hatred of America and Bush that they pass on the opportunity to denounce a REAL war for oil?

    Sorry, but they all seem like posers to me now.