The Times, They Need Changin’
It’s good to see passionate angry young faces back in the streets again, just like they were in 1968.
I was in Washington then. Spent the year learning Laotian at the Foreign Service Institute. Bunked in a barracks called Nebraska Hall along with 200 other Army language students on the South Post of Ft. Meyer, right next to the Virginia end of the Memorial Bridge, part of Arlington National Cemetery now.
Had a front row seat for the action that year. Watched a hundred blocks of DC burn following Martin Luther King’s assassination. The March on the Pentagon passed within 60 feet of my window. 80% of DC was too dangerous to enter in those days but I hiked the rest of it.
As a $138 a month PFC that’s all I could afford to do. Spent time talking to the folks at Resurrection City next to the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial. Learned a lot for a boy from an all-white farm town in Minnesota.
Their protest was quiet and dignified and powerful. Some of the other protests weren’t so quiet. The one at Lafayette Square across from the White House was loud and raucous and never stopped. Always somebody holding forth there.
The Vietnam War was the main target of those protesters, but there were other causes, some of which I had never heard of. Stuck around long enough to witness Nixon’s inauguration. A dismal day on all levels enlivened only by the Yippies, who inaugurated a pig on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
Then it was off to what I thought was Dak To, Vietnam, but ended up being a top-secret signal intelligence base called Ramasun Station in Thailand. If it had been DT I wouldn’t be around to write this piece.
I didn’t know which side I was on in 1968, but by late 1969 I knew the facts based on the job I was doing at Ramasun. I knew that the Vietnam War was an abomination…and I knew that we were going to lose it. Tens of thousands of casualties and vast destruction later, we did.
Anti-war protests turned the tide against the war, but couldn’t stop it. 50 years later something else needs ending. Something that threatens the Republic even more than that war did. Something that threatens the very democracy our Republic is based upon.
A deranged demagogue in the White House is at the center of it, but he has lots of help, including the National Rifle Association and the politicians it has bought and paid for.
Time to go after them. Time to go after Trump’s toadies in the Republican Party. The double-talking apologists and enablers who continue to support him and make excuses for his foul boorish behavior and his vicious policies. Time to go after his hard-core base of haters and ignoramuses. They all need “changin.”
Get out into the streets America! Raise Hell! You don’t have to worry about disobeying authority.
The kind of “authority” we now have in the White House, and the Congress, and some state legislatures isn’t worth obeying. Get out into the streets and stay there until all those who “stand in the doorway and block up the hall” are removed.
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