Friday, July 27, 2007

I am still alive


I have been so busy that I haven't had time to think, let alone blog. It's all good. My summer grad class ended yesterday. We spent six weeks studying organizations and the last two studying anarchist groups. It was really fun. I think I'm a bit of an anarchist. I used to be a registered independent until I became active in NOW and Now members talked me into becoming a Democrat so that I "had a voice."

I remember the night Bill Clinton was elected. My mother and I sat and watched the election returns, both in our respective armchairs. She was very liberal, but I believe my father's pressure kept her from voting for any Democrats, but I digress. As we saw that Clinton was going to win and in fact they announced, I was ecstatic. I told my mother that for the first time in my life, I felt like I was represented. She turned to me and said, "I'm sure you do." I could see on her face that she really did understand how I felt. I'm not so sure I'd feel that way now despite which Dem was elected.

If anyone watched the YouTube debate the other night, lacking was any discussion of America's abysmal health care policies. Of course, young people, most of the questioners, probably feel as I felt at 21, invincible. I never believed I would get sick. But health care is a burning issue in this country and I don't see any politicians addressing it in any meaningful way.

Back to anarchists. We really enjoyed watching a film called "Anarchists in America," which interviewed anarchists, many of them bright and vibrant and obviously in their 80s, talk about what led them to their beliefs. Many, of course, came out of Eastern Europe and Spain and suffered discrimination and segregation when they arrived in the United States. Of course, their children who have become assimilated in the great American "melting pot" are not anarchists because their experiences were not their parents. Most of the anarchists' children are middle and upper middle class, it appeared from the interviews. Not surprising.

So I decided as I studied for the final to Google anarchy in the Midwest. I hit a website that was removed at one point from Wikipedia and I received a flag "Your i.p. address has been recorded." So now, I guess I'm officially an anarchist, or at least my computer is.

Wouldn't it be disappointing if we ordered our FBI files and found we didn't have one? I asked in class. My teacher and I are of the same generation, but the students in the class, since this was grad and undergrad, were pretty young and naive. We spent a bit of time trying to explain the late 60s and early 70s to them. To borrow a phrase, "You had to be there."

I was reminiscing yesterday about living in Berkeley a few blocks off Telegraph Avenue in the early 70s. It was the end of the People's Park demonstrations and several times I was maced or chased and once shot with a rubber bullet as I tried to make it to my high school a few miles away. The 70s were definitely strange days.

I remember the Berkeley cops with Afros so big I don't know how they kept their hats on. One night I came around the corner with a friend to knock on the door of another friend and the cops had kicked it in and were searching the apartment. My friend had four joints in the pocket of his denim shirt. The cops looked up from the living room and rushed toward us and brought us in. The cop apparently in charge looked at his pocket and took the joints out. "You don't want these, do you?" the cop asked.

"No, you can have them," my friend assured him. That was the 70s. Today you'd probably go to prison for four joints.

One of the women interviewed in the film was at least 80 and she was very articulate and sweet. The interviewer asked her to describe her role. She said that she stayed under the limelight stirring up trouble here and there. "So you were an agitator?" the interviewer asked.

"Well, we all tried to do our best," she responded primly.

I wonder if we as Americans are doing our best. I know I'm not; I'm so politically inactive it isn't funny. I send my donations to Amnesty International and to the World Wildlife Fund and once and again attend a Democratic women's caucus, but increasingly I feel like, as one of the anarchists said on the film, if I don't do something, I'll go completely crazy.

These are my ramblings for today. I love taking pleasant trips down memory lane. I know as I related some of my stories to the kids in class this semester, they must have thought, "She's full of it." I have lived many lives in this lifetime. I thank God daily that I survived.

2 comments:

Gwen said...

Yikes, that is a little scary. Having your ip address recorded because of looking up information. I guess that is the world we live in today.

Hope your enjoying your Saturday.

G~

msb said...

I have another blogger friend who too has her ip recorded. I love it. I wonder if i''m guilty by assocation. Or jut guilty of bad spelling.