I’ve Come a Long Way

     I need to start this blog by explaining a little about myself. I grew up in a small town on the coast of Oregon, Gold Beach. With a population of only 1600 , counting dogs, we never had the problems of the big city. We didn’t worry about child molesters or getting mugged or kidnapped or drugs. Our only restriction was that on school nights we had to be in when the street lights came on and on weekends the city had a 10:00 o’clock curfew that we had to abide by unless we went to a movie that kept us out later and then the police (all two of them) were there to make sure we went straight home.
     It wasn’t until I moved to Eugene in 1964 and went to work for Southern Pacific Railroad that I began to learn about these things. The civil rights movement was in full swing and I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I hadn’t seen any of the prejudice and I found it hard to believe that people were that way. After all, wasn’t this America and wasn’t everybody created equal in the eyes of the law.
     I admit that I fell into the trap and said and did some things I shouldn’t have and the “N” word became part of my vocabulary. I realize now that I did these things not because I really believed it but because I didn’t have the courage of my convictions.I wanted to fit in.
     The seventies came along and I again fell into the trap. This time it was the Vietnam war protests. Those dirty smelly rotten hippies why don’t they get a job?  People fled to Canada and gave up their American citizenship to avoid the draft and Mohamed Ali and others claimed conscientious objector status and I figured they were cowards or traitors or anything but good Americans. I got my draft notice in “67” and would have gone. I was (and still am) deaf in one ear and was reclassified as 1-Y. I figured I had an excuse but these others had none.
     What struck me most about these two time periods was the violence. I remember M.L.K talking peace but most places they marched was violence and the 70’s demonstrations were marred with violence and the media portrayed it as the demonstrators or marchers starting it.
     I’ve come a long way since those days. I now know that it wasn’t the demonstrators who instigated the violence but the police. Wherever the marchers went they were met by police in full riot gear who used billy clubs and tear gas and fire hoses to break them up. And then there was Kent State and the cops got over excited and started shooting.
     I’ve thought a lot about those days. I look at the occupy movement and the 99% and I see history repeating itself once again.
     My conclusion in all of this is that this is not and never has been a truly free country. The people are free only as long as they do what the ruling class wants them to do. The Oligarchs and the plutocrats and wall street and big banks, if you stay in line they are perfectly happy but if you step forward and protest and let them know this isn’t the way–well–you scare them and they react the only way they know how, with fear, intimidation and violence.
     Yes, Ive come a long way. I now believe that all people should have the same opportunities regardless of race, sex, creed, national origin or sexual preference, for we are all the same raceand that is the human race.


Politics Taken seriously

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