2016-12-12 – In May 1970, I participated in the scariest protest march of my life. President Nixon had recently expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia. Only days before, four kids were killed at Kent State University protesting the war. I was in Chicago where, only two years before, police and demonstrators clashed violently at the Democratic National Convention. We marched from Hyde Park to the Loop (maybe eight miles) and ended up in Grant Park where we listened to speakers while government helicopters flew low to photograph the scene. Cops were in riot gear. We carried rags to use in case of tear gas. It was a scary time.
We’re in another scary time.
It’s hard to say whether this time will be as bad as then—or worse. Monumental changes occurred in the 60s. The civil rights movement broke Jim Crow in the South. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll changed our culture. More than 50,000 American boys—sons of the working class and immigrants and grandsons of slaves—were killed in a place that, in spite of being on the evening news every day, no one knew or cared about. It was bad. And yet it was a great time.
That’s the paradox.
The other day I saw the following statement on Facebook: “Republicans have stripped the country of its last shred of morality.” Have they?
Have cynical Republican politics stripped away your morality? I doubt it. It hasn’t stripped mine away. We’re in a time of conflict, but if you are still holding on to your “last shred of morality,” we could someday look back on this time as a great time. If we hold on to what we know to be right. If we stand together. Even when we are scared.
Especially when we are scared.