American Consequences - September 2020

The police were not as fit in those days as they are now, nor so well-equipped with means of riot control. We weren’t very fit either, with a three-pizza case of the munchies being our way to get in training. (And sprinting in our Jesus sandals makes me realize why the Savior didn’t make a run for it on the Via Dolorosa.) But usually, we got away. We did get tear-gassed. But that was mostly a good excuse to offer to help wash hippie chicks in the commune’s nude hot tub. Plus, we experienced the adrenaline high of rioting. Although, considering all the drugs we were on, what we needed another high for... I can no longer remember... Anyway, we didn’t do any looting. We were hippies. We weren’t into that whole materialist thing, man. (Although, if cannabis smoke shops had existed back then with window displays full of sensimilla weed...) We didn’t pull down any statues. Never mind if we didn’t know enough about mechanical engineering to figure out how. We were liberal arts majors. We probably would have tried to talk the statues down from their pedestals. And we weren’t crazy enough to try to succeed

from the United States with a few square blocks in the middle of Portland, Oregon. Our “Occupied Zone” was Woodstock, where the worst thing that happened was some people were left poking around in the mud of Max Yasgur’s farm looking for their underpants. But enough with the foolish reminiscences of old age. I get it that you rioting kids today are having fun, too. Now, knock it off ! When my friends and I were rioting kids, our antics probably prolonged support for the Vietnam War by at least three years. In fact, I’ll bet that I, personally, was responsible for the Vietnam War lasting fifteen minutes longer than it would have. Then things got worse. Not only did the nation turn on us, we turned on ourselves. In 1971 – much to our stoned approval – the 26th Amendment gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. The “Youthquake” was on its way. The “pigs” would be voted out of office, and the “heads” would run the country. The hallucination was briefer than a hit from the nitrous oxide in a Reddi-wip can. In 1972, Richard Nixon won a landslide victory carrying 49 states. Historian Rick Perlstein (a liberal by the way) analyzed 1972 election results in his 2008 book Nixonland and found that the majority of the 18- to 21-year-old vote went for Tricky Dick. Is that your idea of fun?

But enough with the foolish reminiscences of old age. I get it that you rioting kids today are having fun, too. Now, knock it off!

American Consequences


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