bunt sign

Thursday, June 5, 2008

One of my most vivid college memories is lying in bed listening to the radio.

It was a Tuesday night, forty years ago today. I was a 19-year-old freshman, living in the dorm and sharing a room with a guy I never saw again after the school year ended a few days later. I was never sure if he flunked out, as I suspect, or if he got a better offer, which doesnít seem very likely, considering his work habits. He somehow got himself invited to frat parties every weekend, and he did plenty of partying during the week as well.

After watching the election returns in the dormís TV room that night, Iíd gone to bed after the winner was declared, but before the candidates made any speeches. You had to be 21 to vote in those days, and I donít know for sure if I would have voted for Robert Kennedy. Gene McCarthy was the chic choice among students, and had been expected to win the primary. Kennedyís win that night probably prevented McCarthy from becoming the Democratic nominee to replace Lyndon Johnson.

My roommate burst into the room and before even flicking on the light said, ďTurn on the radio. Somethingís happening.Ē

We listened for hours, late into the early morning, hoping that the horror hadnít been repeated. A few months before, weíd seen Martin Luther King, Jr., murdered in Memphis, and now it was another assassination in Los Angeles. As more details kept coming in, we knew the worst had happened. This wasnít one of those news events that you hear about but donít realize what they mean. We knew what this meant, from that first night.

1 June 2008

Clouds kissing.

And we were right, of course. American politics, American history in general, was never the same after that night in June of 1968. It wasnít just that Richard Nixon was elected president that fall. That was just a symptom of the loss of idealism that Bobby Kennedy represented. We believed it was possible to make a better world. All through the sixties we believed, and I think we were right. Then the air was sucked out of our hopes and dreams, all in one shot, and nothing has come close to bringing back that optimism until this year. Itís not the same; too much has happened. But itís way better than the politics of greed and cynicism weíve been through for so many years.

previousbunt signemailnext

Comments for this entry:
Last entry's comments:

Please click to help fund free mammograms.

David's site. Check it out.

One year ago: Blown
"I know itís still spring, but is it also still March?"

Latest on bunt sign live: See you on the promenade
Subscribe to the bunt sign notify list to be advised when this site is updated.

You try so hard, but you donít understand
Just what youíll say when you get home
buntsign's photos More of buntsign's photos

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com