For what shall it profit a man ( Part 2)

Emotions Run High

Peace and Love.
Good stuff.
But I wasn't buying any of it.
There was a feeling that the world was progressing towards something great. A Utopian order. An end to violence; a thinking and reasoning man's world filled with philosophy and enlightenment.
I rode in the back of the school bus, my mind filled with disgust. Through the use of several "grub day" organized protests, the students in my high school had been successful in overturning the school's dress code policy. The days of hair above the color, side burns to mid ear, casual clothing with shirts tucked in and knee length skirts... Well, that exploded into beards and long hair, tie dye and mini-skirts. Fucking under the music stage, smoking pot in the lavatory near room five and outside of the Art room.
What a progressive bunch.
And I was one of them.
I watched the morning news and heard of the Kent State protests and the subsequent shootings. This set the tone for my day much as that other day in 1968 when I saw near live footage of Bobby Kennedy being shot while I ate my Captain Crunch in front of the t.v.
The bus was a microcosm of the school at large with me always sitting at the back of the bus looking on. Observing.
Jocks here, pretty girls there: plain girls; freaks and nerds.
And me.
One of my buddies signed me up to see a recruiter. It was an ongoing joke. Whenever we were in close proximity to the guidance office we would sign each other up to meet with potential career advisers. Today I sat with Staff Sargent Moses, perhaps the only other black person in the whole school that day. The other was a girl from the Youth Center for young girls with troubled life situations. She was a novelty. Today, the other novelty was Sarge Moses.
The Vietnam war was not motivated by a desire to stop communism and promote freedom and democracy. That was a tired old line and I wasn't buying it. And I told him so.

Well, come on generals, let's move fast;

Your big chance has come at last.

Gotta go out and get those reds —

The only good commie is the one who's dead
And you know that peace can only be won

When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

He leaned in gently while I focused on the depth of color that hung as an eclipse over me. I'm not sure what his parting words were that day but I no longer signed up Billy or John for recruitment day after that. No, that game was over.
Joe had the best set of bell bottom trousers that I've ever seen. Mary Ann made me hard by just passing her in the hallway. We still had our fair share of greasers in school wearing engineer boots and white tee shirts. We filed from class to class, to lunch at the assigned time and to PE where buzz cut and overweight coaches ran us through their assigned drill.
No one seemed to notice or care about what happened at Kent State yesterday. No one gave one notice of attention to what was happening in Vietnam.
I looked out the window and sighed.


Mike Golch said…
trying to think of a good posting for this and could not.
Tao1776 said…
I know Mike,that you must rankle at the thought of anti-war sentiments - they are usually indicative of anti-soldier sentiments.
Nothing could be further from the truth.