What I Said At The TIme

I started writing a journal when I was 13 years old.  I still have that raggedy old spiral notebook.

Here’s what I said about Viet Nam.  Please don’t hate me for my prodigy-like brilliance:

I wonder when World War III will be.  I’m almost sure there’ll be one, because of all the fighting going on in Viet Nam.  You see, it all started because we didn’t want South Viet Nam to become Communist (a form of government where the government owns and controls everything) so we fought the Communists so that Viet Nam would be a democracy (an individualistic government, where it is run by the people, for the people).

Well so far, all that has happened is a lot of killing!  Also, Presidential elections are coming up in 1968 (November).  I sure hope Johnson isn’t re-elected.  I’m rooting for Bobby Kennedy or McCarthy!  (Even though I can’t vote, I’m only 13 years old!)

I wish that wars wouldn’t “be.”  We have such a short time to live, why does it have to be spent in fighting?


Yes, I was quite the historian and governmental expert!  lol

Two days after the assassination, I wrote this:

Two days ago, Martin Luther King a Negro “non-violentist” was assasinated[sic].  He truly believed in non-violence, and he was going to lead a peaceful protest march, when he was shot and killed.

So his Negro followers, instead of carrying on his wish for non-violence, started rioting.  The worst rioting was in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.  Of course, I am not cutting down the Negroes, or reprimanding them, but I don’t think that they should riot, at least for the sake of their departed leader!  Of course, the Negero has been a scapegoat like the Jews (which I am, Jewish, that is) and I guess if I were a Negro, I’d riot too!

Gosh, what difference does the color of their skin  make?  Prejudice[sic] people are really crazy when they condemn any race!!! Maybe if they were perfect or something, but they are far from that!  You know, the world is such a mixed up place, I wonder if it will ever improve!?

As you can see, I didn’t understand that this struggle was my struggle as well.  I didn’t even know the history of what black Americans had gone through since the days of slavery.

In my mostly white Midwest school we were told about slavery, oh sure.  We were told it was not a very good thing, while seeing photos of happy looking black folks in the fields, and how wonderful Lincoln was to free the slaves.

I didn’t even know what “Jim Crow” meant.  Or lynching.  Or much of anything else.

So it was “them,” and “their leader.”

I hope I’ve progressed a bit since then.


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  1. … at the orange.

    • RiaD on January 21, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    the war of labels…

    whether its skin colour, religion, country, language, sex, politics, class…

    ALL these labels divide us.

    we gotta get Over them.

    and start treating each other as humans, just people.

  2. how smart and spunky you were. You were seeing things that it took me decades to grasp. I’d love to have met that young woman!

  3. I was just coming into political activism a Californian with parents who were divided politically. My mom was a FDR old school Democrat and my dad a commie fearing Nixon loving  right winger. I grew up listening to them duke it out verbally. My mom won my heart and mind no contest.

    We moved this year you first speak of to a college town (Claremont Calif) and my eyes were opened. I had older friends who went to the south for voter registration, and endangered my dad’s ‘security’ standing, he was a military contractor weapons designer, standing by wearing a peace button and hanging out with ‘radical commie lovers’ sons and daughters. I was lucky as I had information to counter the tide of the time.

    Bobby Kennedy was the first politician I ever worked for even though I could not vote. As a child I had watched the assassination of my mothers hero and as I grew up I watched the transformation of Bobby before my eyes become a voice that bridged the gap. A transformation close to mine. People praise Johnson for civil rights in the clarity of my youth I saw Bobby as the bridge of our troubled waters.

    MLK was lights year away from my white suburban knowledge of what racism meant in real life and history. I came of age listening to the speeches of Dr. King and realized that the struggle we all face is the only one, the rights of all human rights are the only thing that is worth struggling politcally for.You may have been young and filled with misinformation but as for each generation the truth will out. As time moves on I appreciate and take to heart his legacy even more. Sorry to wax on but you took me back to a journey we all need to make again.  

  4. …you when I was 13.  

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