Saturday, December 10, 2011

On The Good Fight

The man in the picture above is my father. At the time of this photo, he was cooling his heels at the DC Jail, having just been arrested at an anti-war demonstration, sometime in the very early 1970s. My purpose in showing this is two-fold: it shows that my father was pretty much a hippie at the time; it serves as a starting point for this post.

If anyone has read earlier posts of mine, he or she may recall that I have disparaged hippie wannabes (such as many of the Occupy Wall Street folks) with impunity. My disdain for them stems from my belief of what protests should be about and what a truly righteous cause is.

My father and his father were very active in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s. Both had a keen sense of justice and fairness; both were fearless and relentless in their pursuit of these ideals and in their efforts to make them realities for everyone in our country. Neither made a name for himself as a famous champion of humanity, but what they did at the basic level to help bring about the changes we've seen in the past fifty-plus years was as important to the cause as the major protests, marches and speeches that have garnered all the attention. They worked face-to-face with people, convincing them intellectually and spiritually of the merit of the cause. They changed many minds and hearts, helping to swell the tide that ultimately prevailed. They never expected recognition, accolades or even gratitude for it; they fought the good fight per the dictates of their consciences and convictions.

Grandpa Murphy was extremely liberal. He was active in the Church and was probably a thorn in the side of many of its leaders. He was very vocal and wrote a lot about the ordination of women and married men. He tried to help drag the Church into modernity; I think he was even pro-choice. My dad was far more conservative than Grandpa, the hippie anti-war thing notwithstanding. He was more traditionalist in his faith; he was all about Latin Masses (which is not some pro-illegal immigration group); he observed Lent; he held onto the prohibition against eating meat on Fridays year-round; he was staunchly anti-abortion. They were both pacifists who were active in the anti-[Vietnam] war movement.

My father started teaching at The American University in the fall of 1968. I was one year old at the time, so some of what follows is what I can remember of other people's accounts of what happened then. The war in Vietnam was on; the draft was in place. There were deferrals for college students; some of them went to Camp AU. Some professors were very reluctant to fail students at the time; flunking a kid out of college could practically be issuing him a death sentence. My father gave lots of students Cs in those days.

I remember some of the parties my parents threw in the early to mid 1970s; I remember pretzels, beer, reefer and many young, long-haired male and female partiers. I remember clowning around at one party: I got on the back of the couch, distorted my face a bit and raised both hands above my head with peace signs, mocking the larger-than-life-sized poster of Nixon on the wall behind me.

I remember the students who rented the house three or four doors up from us. I drank my first beer in their front yard at one of the many parties they threw; it was a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. One of the young ladies there used to take me on errands with her; I remember the big lollipops she'd buy me whenever we went out. I think her name was Cindy; she is the one who took this picture:

Somewhere in the annals of Corky's Log, one can find a reference wherein I claimed that I was grunge before grunge was grunge; I submit this photo as evidence to back that claim.

Anyhow, I hear that Time magazine has made the (generic) protester its person of the year. It puts the OWS whiners on a par with people worldwide who have fought or are fighting for freedom from oppressive governments. What a load of crap! These OWS fools are more or less advocating socialism and communism which, if implemented, would result in the installation of an extremely oppressive government here. That government would end up depriving good innocent people of life, liberty and property in the name of an equality that will never happen. One need only look at what happened in Russia, China and Cuba in the last century to see what a bad thing a crossover to communism would be. It would bring a terrible, bloody end to our wonderfully successful republic. I say no thank you!

The fight for equal rights and the fight to end the draft and the war in Vietnam were just causes for which it was worth risking one's reputation, safety, freedom and even life. Seeking to kill our republic for the pipe dream of a socialist utopia is a foolhardy, deplorable and despicable endeavor; it by no means merits the recognition Time has conferred on OWS protesters for advocating it.

BTW: We will have communism in the United States over my dead body.

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