Monday, September 1, 2008

Rattlesnake Confusion - September 2008

Rattlesnake Confusion
September 2008

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
Stephen Stills - “For What It’s Worth”

August 21, 1968 – The dramatic blossoming of democratic, cultural and social reforms in Czechoslovakia are squashed when 200,000 troops from the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary invade and occupy the country. What became known as the Prague Spring was a testament to what happens when people are given the freedom to think as they wish, associate with like-minded individuals and criticize the government.

And it scared the hell out of those in power.

“The policeman isn’t there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley

In a land that's known as Freedom
How can such a thing be fair?
Graham Nash - “Chicago”

August 26-29, 1968 – Police clash with protestors at Chicago’s Democratic National Convention. A 17 year old shot dead by the police, nearly 700 arrested and almost 200 officers injured. Earlier that year, the country had suffered the assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King and then-presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. Negative sentiment for the Vietnam War was growing.

And it would have scared the hell out of those in power, but three weeks earlier, Richard Nixon was declared the Republican nominee for President.

Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is?
Do you, Mister Jones?
Bob Dylan - “Ballad of a Thin Man”

Well, I damn sure didn’t know what was happening. I was 8 and I had spent the summer reading comic books in my father’s upholstery shop. Hell, my first experience with what was “happening” came years later in my sixth grade class when the Savannah Police came in and passed around a small, smoldering mound of dry leaves on a small screen and told us that was the smell of marijuana. That and Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” are my main memories of sixth grade.

If I were the king of the world
Tell you what I'd do
I'd throw away the cars and the bars and the war
Hoyt Axton – “Joy To The World”

August 25-28 and September 1-4, 2008 – At both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, protesters are once again corralled into “free-speech zones,” a grammatical constriction that even Orwell never imagined. They are set aside out of the view of the television cameras, the press and the world.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, is it still a constitutionally guaranteed right?

Ain’t that freedom for you, freedom American Style?
Todd Snider – “TV Guide”

And now, nothing scares those in power.