Things today will end much as they did 50 years ago… when I stopped being a noisy young creep
I’d like to launch into a strong invective about the “antifa,” those noisy young creeps trampling on liberty, vandalizing property, and assaulting those whose political opinions they deem “incorrect”…
Then I realized I was one of them. Or had been. Or I had tried to be.
It was a long time ago – 50 years. But in 1967, I was as noisy, as young, and as much of a creep as anybody plaguing the streets of Berkeley today.
Because it was fun.
Not that I would have admitted this at the time.
Ostensibly, the reason I was out trampling, vandalizing, and assaulting was to protest the war in Vietnam.
The government of the United States wanted to send me to a distant place with noxious flora and fauna. And they wanted me to shoot people I didn’t even know. What’s more, those people were going to shoot back.
It wasn’t that I was a pacifist. If the government had wanted to send me home, to shoot my stepfather while the drunken bum was asleep on the couch, I would have willingly enlisted.
As it was, however, the war in Vietnam seemed like a good thing to protest.
And here, I feel for the antifa. They are protesting… What are they protesting? Pretty much everything you can think of. Which is to say nothing much. It must be hard getting a bunch of real jerks together for no real reason. That’s probably why, 50 years ago, there were so many more of us pasty-faced peace creeps than there are black-masked antifa creeps today.
I also feel bad for the antifa because, from what I can tell peeking beneath the hoodies and behind the bandannas, their angry, empowered women aren’t nearly as cute as our hippie chicks were.
But to return to the fun…
Once we started protesting the war in Vietnam, we realized that… “Rioting – it’s a riot!” And the war became simply a good excuse for having one.
There was excitement! There was camaraderie! There was derring-do!
I was, I confess, never very good at rioting. I only weighed about 130 pounds in those days, so any liberties I trampled were trampled upon lightly.
And I was too fundamentally middle-class to be much of a vandal. I was pretty sure that if I smashed a store window my mother would pop up out of nowhere, snap a dishtowel at me and yell, “Windows don’t grow on trees! They cost money! Somebody worked hard to make the money for that window! And it’s coming out of your allowance!”
My “allowance” in 1967 had been spent on a baggie of pot that was down to stems and seeds and probably wouldn’t go far toward paying for a store window.
As for assaulting, I remember a lot more running away from the police than charging at them. Still, if you were quick enough in your retreat, you’d give yourself a moment to turn around and (from a distance) shout at the “pigs”…
Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh
NLF is gonna win!
It would impress those hippie chicks. Then the real fun began. “Oh wow, Sunshine! We’re covered in tear gas! Let’s go back to the crash pad and since we have to conserve Earth’s resources, we’d better double up in the shower.”
I suppose things are much the same today as they were 50 years ago. Though tear gas is more romantic than pepper spray, which is best washed off with vinegar. (But I understand that many of the antifa are vegans, so they’re used to smelling like a salad.)
And I expect things will end much the same way as they did 50 years ago…
I remember when I stopped being a noisy young creep trampling on liberty, vandalizing property, and assaulting those whose political opinions I deemed incorrect. It was Monday, May 4, 1970.
That was the day the National Guard shot 13 people just like me, killing four of them, at Kent State University in my home state of Ohio.
I was off in graduate school in Baltimore. But my high school girlfriend Connie Nowakowski was there in the fired-upon crowd. And the National Guard could have shot this adorable, innocent naïf Catholic girls’ school faintly activist butt off.
They weren’t shooting at Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. They were shooting at us.
And it was an irony – not lost on me even at the time – that the Kent State protesters had shot themselves. That is, the same ordinary middle-class adolescent Ohioans who were in the National Guard to avoid the draft shot the same ordinary middle-class adolescent Ohioans who were at Kent State to avoid the draft.
So, antifa… drop the hood, turn the bandanna around, and get a job. Otherwise you might end up killing yourselves.