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Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,523

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Grim times when I graduated high school, too. . .

Let's see, when I graduated high school, in the early '70s, I'd dealt with the murders of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King; saw a localized war in Vietnam explode into a regional conflagration with tens of thousands of American soldiers dead and countless Vietnamese, maybe a million or more, slaughtered; witnessed fellow citizens shot down in the streets for daring to protest the increasingly reckless and illegal actions of an out-of-control President; huddled beneath school desks in mock anticipation of nuclear annihilation; witnessed a police riot in Chicago, and the disintegration of the social bonds in my hometown (Los Angeles), as well as countless other flashpoints for riots across the land -- Newark, Baltimore, Chicago, Louisville, and more; saw and participated in a raft of protests against the war, against social conditions, prison conditions, the grinding poverty that is life for too many millions in America; gasped in horror when Charles Whitman climbed the Texas U tower, reeled in shock when the Manson Family preyed together; sputtered in near impotent rage when the government refused to heed Rachel Carson's warning how we are poisoning ourselves and endured instead a corporate media blitz about the dangers of littering; debated the inanity of television and the dumbing of America; worried and complained that the media didn't cover the proper issues, that it too often gave only the government line and excluded alternative voices; worried about wars, and rumors of wars, and the relentless stockpiling of nuclear weaponry; sat in shocked disbelief as Munich unfolded; watched as a plethora of terrorist groups highjacked planes and used them as weapons against their "oppressors," flying them to Cuba & elsewheres, threatening to kill the passengers; wondered at the long-term effect of the OPEC embargo as the realization of oil's end became all too real . . . and these are just what I remember off the top, quickly typing in the busy hours of an April afternoon.

My schooling was bracketed by a death in Dallas and wanton killings in Kent. The dream -- the national fantasy inculcated into so many after the War -- died with JFK. But the hope . . . the hope spawned by Jefferson, reaffirmed by Lincoln, restored by Franklin Roosevelt . . . the hope remained, and beats as strong today as it did when I received my first diploma. From that hope we can generate anew the dreams that will carry us into the future, a future that grows increasingly bright if we but know how to focus on the light . . .
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