The Kent State Issue and questions of 'machismo' on both sides

drieux (drieux@WETWARE.COM)
Fri, 22 May 1998 20:16:59 -0700 (PDT)

] I was involved at Kent State University during the years 1969-1971 and
] played an active part in the antiwar movement. You can see something
] of what I did in Mitchner's _Kent State: What Happened and Why_ and
] the volumes produced by Boston Publishing for Time/Life on the
] Sixties.
] Steven Sharoff

Steven, et al,

on another list I am on, there is a minor go around about
the Kent State Issue, so I might as well ask for your opinion
on all of this.

A part of what seems 'obvious' to me, now, in retrospect, is
the 'psychological problem' that may well have 'hindered' the
National Guard Elements at Kent State, in that it seems a reasonable
proposition that many of them were avoiding active combat duty in
vietnam and found themselves in the 'buzz saw' of history, between
the REALITY of their own actions and the rhetoric of those protesting
against the war, many of whom were still 'candidates' for the draft
if they lost their 2-S deferment. This same dialectical tension appears
to have been at work in the chicago police department during the
democratic convention......

I am looking at this from the perspective of trying to understand this
whole 'macho bravado' thing that occurs in 'civilians' who have never
been 'fortunate' enough to actually 'visit' a real live shooting war.

Conversely I am also looking at the question of Male Sexism in the
'new left' during the 'sixties' that would lead to the transition
from 'the weathermen' to 'the weather underground' and the questions
of 'machismo' in the 'anti-war' movement in general. To be honest, a
part of this rests upon the fact that I named my son david after the
book, 'for david my unborn son' - and a woman of my acquaintance raised
the question over the last year that I have known her about the matter
of what was I doing for 'rebecca my unborn daughter'.... since I had
been saving and working on so many things for my 'son' - never even
thinking that I would beat the genetics and have the daughter that we
seem to produce only one per generation...

So that you understand, after being divorced now some eight years
from david and rebecca's mother, I have taken some time to think about
what had gone on with their mother, whom I served with, and where any
of this fit into the traditional 'rhetoric' of "feminism" and the questions
of what would occur 'after the revolution'.... Their mother is 'concerned'
about 'exposing' her children on the internet, and I argue the other side
of the matter, that we have an obligation to argue the clear cases of what
were our ideals, what worked, what failed, and what still remains to be
done with our country and it's culture.

So my probing here is towards that end, not the mere intellectual assent
to ideals and idealism, but to the real problems that come out of what
we lived, and did, and what should we really be passing along to our
children as they too go through the 'ages' that we once lived through.

How much of what occurred at Kent State was, as would occur through so
many of the 'protests' that would continue on through the years to this
day, merely the newly ritualized 'warfare' by which young men prove their
machismo, and as gary and I laughed years ago at a 'stop the klan' rally
we stumbled through in D.C. would end up with young men seated with
young women, drinking coffee and talking ernestly about 'ideals' that
they were clearly still too young to have even the faintest clue what
they really meant....

but we silently wished them well, since they seemed a charming
couple all decked out in the regalia of the era, the new 'mating ritual'
of 'radical chic'....