Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mr. Clean Genes, premature ghost

During the California primary of 1968, my friends were pretty well split between those supporting Sen. McCarthy and the upstart, Bobby Kennedy. Two anti-war candidates to choose from, at least one of them would win, we thought. The whole "clean for Gene" thing repelled me, even though I had short hair and often wore a suit in those days. I did admire him for taking on LBJ BEFORE it was the popular thing to do. It was hard to trust RFK- the whole Kennedy thing seemed more about expedience than committment. Still, Bobby was a great speaker and Gene was interesting to listen to as well. Gene came to my university in Northridge to address the students and solicit our votes. Being a Canadian was yet another reason I couldn't vote, but I looked forward to meeting him. After he spoke (I remember nothing of the speech) he started shaking hands. When he shook mine, his skin seemed grayer than one normally observes in a living human. His handshake also didn't seem to be coming from this side of the grave. I had the odd premonition that I was shaking hands with a ghost. A few weeks later, it was Bobby that suffered premature ghosting, and Gene lived on and on. Seeing him repeatedly run for president was like watching an 80 year old Willie Mays try and make a basket catch. Now Eugene McCarthy is really dead. Will his supporters finally stop all that compulsive bathing? There's work to do, in the dirt of the world. Vietnam is back, only under a new name. Ghosts, even premature ones won't help America out of its latest folly.


At 12:10 PM, Blogger Elayne said...

Very nice remembrance, Cat.


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