The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 May 2004

We're finally on our own

Andrea Harris contemplates Kent State:

I was thirteen in 1970, but for years I accepted the popular notion that the riot at Kent State was nothing but a peaceful demonstration of gentle flower children who were ruthlessly attacked for no reason by drooling prognathous-browed Neanderthals in National Guard uniforms. Perhaps if I had actually watched the news with my parents instead of regarding such as part of the uninteresting duties of maturity that my tender years gave sanction to avoid, I would not have spent so many years under this delusion.

I'm having a little problem imagining brows as prognathous, but otherwise this is much like what I was thinking at the advanced age of Almost Seventeen.

Iraq, of course, is not Vietnam — it's not even "exactly similar" — and I wouldn't expect people who protested the war in Iraq to be strictly comparable to people who protested the war in Vietnam. Certainly some (though by no means all) of today's antiwar types are a rather surly, uncommunicative lot, something I don't remember being characteristic of the flower children. (I, of course, was surly and uncommunicative in those days, but then I have always been such.)

But I have to wonder: was I giving Vietnam protesters in 1970 a pass because I was rapidly closing in on draft age and therefore might have had some reason to identify with them? I can't find much common ground with today's antiwar left; has it changed, or have I?

Posted at 4:34 PM to Political Science Fiction


I meant to look that word up in Dictionary.com; I knew it referred to something heavy and jutting, but couldn't remember what.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 6:03 PM on 4 May 2004

On the other hand, even without the definition at hand, it sounds like it belongs there; it creates the impression that the droolers in question had not yet evolved to Cro-Magnon status, which is, I think, precisely the impression desired.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:38 PM on 4 May 2004

Thirty-four years ago today. I woke up replaying the entire day; I was there that day despite my father's strict orders to "stay away from those communists" and to come straight home, three blocks from the campus.

Nothing wakes you up faster than the jolt of what seems like yesterday being really more than a third of a century passed.

Posted by: Vickie at 7:59 PM on 4 May 2004

I kinda sorta remember that day. I was one of the antiwar types back then but I didn't totally blame the guardsmen, I remember something about rock throwing or something along that line. I do recall that I felt they had overreacted. Sorry to say those days are a little blurry now. Heck, what do you expect for 30 years ago.

Posted by: anstranger at 7:01 AM on 5 May 2004