I had gone to bed right as the state was called for RFK, it was late to be up for a 14 year old high school Freshman so I didn't see anything that had happened afterwards. It was a big night for me, I was so happy RFK had won and on the following morning of the 6th, a little personal victory for me was slated as well. I was going to be sworn in as class president for our upcoming Sophomore year. I had been on cloud 9 for a week since my own little landslide victory.
The morning of the 5th dawned dark and cloudy, the "June Gloom" so common on the California coast, in fact a day very much like it is outside right now. I don't recall if there was much commotion among my parents, I think they must have been stunned. My first clear memory of the morning starts with me approaching the other kids at the bus stop. It was here I first heard the details of RFK's wounds. In denial of their severity I casually observed that "there wasn't much behind there" where I was told he had been shot, secretly knowing that well yes, there is quite a bit behind there- but by a .22! I just couldn't imagine a .22 actually KILLING RFK.
The next two days are a blur. My clearest memory though is getting the news he had died that morning of the 6th then standing there later in the morning, right hand upraised, swearing to do whatever duties a class president was supposed to do. It was all so surreal. The Gym. The 2000 assembled students. The band. The whooppees and all that.
It was a waking nightmare.
And in between all that the sober realization that nothing would stop the war, no one was going to receive justice and Nixon would be President.
1968 was the beginning of the great reaction we are still trying to get through, if only by the skin of our teeth. In the way the fates seem to turn us, my hope lies in this- that this dark time in our history, these past 40 years, that 2008 will see the other bookend to this horrible era and the start of a new one dedicated to justice and freedom for all. Will an elected Obama slam the book shut on this march of fascism and begin the new or will he be a craftier enabler? I want to believe it's the former we have to look forward to but I fear the ferocity of reaction will only begin anew if he or any others make any noise about what really goes on in this country and for whose benefits.
40 years ago, I was young. Now I grow old and think how my entire life has been marred by the Plutocracy that has so betrayed this country and the potential of all our young lives from then, until now. May this generation not experience the horror of watching your country circle the drain and be thought mad for pointing it out. May this generation see a re-birth of freedom and justice for all.