Jealous Old Fart

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Photo by  Phil Dokas, subject to this creative commons license

I’m a jealous old fart. I’ve followed the OWS protests fairly closely. It’s about time someone, other than the wildly misguided Tea Party fanatics, is taking to the streets to protest the corruption of America by big corporations and their political puppets. I hope the protest movement grows until it has a real impact. My fear is it will fade away into irrelevance.

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be an Occupy Knoxville protest.  If there was, I’d sure be there  – for several hours or so,  if the weather was nice and not too cold; and if I could fit in my schedule.  If I couldn’t get there, at least I’d write a letter to the local paper praising the group and chock full of outrage and indignation. I might even sign my name (I have a lot of conservative clients).

Back in the day (1968), I was active in the Antiwar Movement. For those of you not of a certain age, it was the Vietnam War we were marching against. That was five wars and forty-three years ago. I was 20 then and newly converted to the Left, my eyes now open to the insidious corruption of America by the military-industrial complex.

A veteran of a several protests and marches, including a massive New York mach in 1967, when I came back to Tennessee I became something of a leader in the small local university antiwar group. My father, an ardent Republican and supporter of the war (he wanted to nuke Hanoi), was nonetheless proud of me for showing initiative by taking a leadership role.

Protesting the war in Knoxville was different – and scarier – than in New York. We protesters numbered far fewer than the huge throngs marching through Manhattan. The Knoxville cops, decked out in leather, jack boots and white motorcycle helmets, looked like they were just itching for any excuse to gleefully beat our lefty heads. And, of course, east Tennessee was, and remains, staunchly Republican.

Of course, all the above just made it more exhilarating to stand defiantly outside the University of Tennessee student center with my homemade antiwar poster. I’d like to think we were loudly chanting antiwar slogans and holding hands, but I don’t actually remember.

Ah, to be young again and consumed with pure and uncompromising passionate outrage at the needless slaughter of an unjust and moronic war!

1968: what a gloriously fun year that was…!


“Hey, Hey LBJ! How many kids did you kill today!?”  

FLICKR GROUP: 1968

Read all of VISIONS

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