(Or How to Make Others Live-up to Your Better Expectations)
We were 22 and 20, a male and a female old enough to know what we were doing. We were idealistic, fully embracing the Counterculture of shared euphoria pushing power through anti-materialism and imagining a world at peace. We were okay with being thought of as hippies, but we knew we were more than that. We were Changing the World.
It was 1972 and we were camped in Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida, protestors at the Republican National Convention anointing Richard Nixon to seek Four More Years, but more than that we were there to add numbers to The Movement for a New America, to be at the epicenter of all that could be if everyone just imagined a world where guns and money didn’t rule. And it was the epicenter. America. Four years after Chicago. Me a brand new college graduate getting a ride to Florida with my sister’s professor at Goddard who was one of the Chicago 8.* How much closer can you get to being part of changing the world in 1972? Only it didn’t happen, as I explain in my “Open Letter to Jack & Nick, Up & Comers and Fed-Uppers.”
After 3 days of nothing being organized by the overly regimental Flamingo Park protest leaders, and seeing no signs of any history-making turn of events, or ability in the organizers to build a Movement, Murph and I said, “Let’s hitchhike to California.”
After lots of short rides, we got the one we were imagining – a businessman in a BMW with Beethoven in the tape deck going all the way to Chattanooga and willing to buy us breakfast.
*Footnote: The Chicago 8 became The Chicago 7 after Judge Julius Hoffman severed Black Panther Bobby Seales from the other alleged co-conspirators accused of starting a police riot at the Democratic Convention in 1968. (Read “Me & Maggie Clean For Gene.”) Hoffman was the judge who in 1947 refused to grant my mother a divorce because she wouldn’t lie on the stand and say her then-husband went out on her – back then there was no “no fault” divorce and the law both required and expected you to lie to get a divorce.
Tomorrow: High Noon in Chattanooga
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