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?