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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Waiting On The World To Change

Many of my readers are early baby boomers and "window retirees." It was sobering today to realize that 40 years ago today, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated following a victory party celebrating his win in the California Primary, held at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. I was attending UCLA and had just finished my junior year. A bunch of us had been in Santa Monica (not too far away from the Ambassador Hotel) hanging out with McCarthy (Eugene) supporters. We had decided to cruise over to the Ambassador and see how the Kennedy celebration was going. We never made it. By the time we had cruised down Wilshire Blvd in the awful LA traffic and navigating through all the various roadblocks that were set up, we had heard that Kennedy had been assassinated. We somberly went home, not knowing what else to do. We weren't going to get to the Ambassador to share our grief with that of all the others who were there stunned by yet another senseless political assassination. I was in high school when President Kennedy was assassinated. I hadn't yet come around to RFK's camp, but would have supported him for President had he lived and been nominated. Instead, we got Hubert Humphrey, the Chicago 7, Mayor Daley and ultimately Richard Nixon. We'd gotten Ronald Reagan as California Governor in 1966, and I still refuse to show my undergraduate diploma because it has that scoundrel, Reagan's signature on it. (You had to be in California to understand why the UC students hated him so much. He was a much better President than he was California governor). In the meantime, here we are 40 years later and we are still waiting on the world to change. Those of us around during both Kennedy assassinations, not to mention the assassinations of MLK and Malcolm X, have been disillusioned for a long time. I'm still waiting for all this to change. I'm beginning to feel that the old axiom - the more things change, the more they stay the same - holds true for many of us. I'm not especially disillusioned right now, but I was hoping for two more elevating candidates for the US Presidency. I can't say I'm terribly pleased with either of the choices. We have one who is young and inexperienced, and another who is old and isn't enough different from the current President to make him a viable choice for me. My choice is clear, although I'm not excited about it.

So, where were you on June 5, 1968? What do you remember about that time? I remember plenty, and there are many times I'd rather forget.

5 comments:

J Stevenson said...

I was in the basement of Bean Dorm's complex, U of O, doing my laundry. Couldn't believe the TV news!

lcartrom said...

6/68 was a turning point in my life as I moved from LA to Crater Lake to work for Ralph Peyton for the summer. I ended up working 25 summers at different National Parks. I wasn't surprised at events, but I've been pleasantly surprised how well things have gone in the world overall. I may have been in class with you, since I enrolled as a junior math major at UCLA 9/68. I lived in Rieber Hall with a very sharp math major named Alan Forkosh. My wife who is retiring from Ashland HS this week was also a math major at UCLA. I retired from North Valley High School. Oregon has been great!

mrfearless47 said...

I didn't live on the UCLA campus. I lived in an apartment in the San Fernando Valley. One of my high school chums was a math major at UCLA. His name was Larry Leopold. I didn't see him much around UCLA but I knew he was there. I was a Zoology major heading towards pre-Med. I ended up not going into medicine. I decided that late in my junior year. I married a doctor instead. :-)

jcb said...

I was on a train in Sicily on my way to Palermo. An Italian, with tears in her eyes, held up a newspaper with the headline and picture of Bobby.

Gary said...

I was on top of my parents' beach house helping my father put down a roof when a neighbor of his came by with the news. Remember it vividly. I'd just finished my junior year in college,