Feedback from the American Baby-Boomers...

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    Nov 05, 2008 1:41 PM GMT
    I really want to know what those of you, both caucasian and not, who lived through the 60s and saw the US Civil Rights movement in its infancy are thinking about today as America sees it's first African-American President-elect. Did you ever think it would lead to something like this?
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    Nov 05, 2008 2:11 PM GMT
    My facebook page says it all.

    Jonathan is humming "We Shall Overcome" as history is made.

    No matter how good or bad a president Senator Obama makes (and he is going to have his challenges), the fact that the US has finally chosen someone from outside the male WASP gene pool is very important. As the last President showed, you have to ensure you get the best people possible to run, and that is hard to do if you are always selecting from the same group of people.
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    Nov 05, 2008 2:13 PM GMT


    No, we never thought it would happen, but always hoped it could.

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    Nov 05, 2008 2:49 PM GMT
    The mere fact that people can get beyond deeply engrained stereotypes and fears to vote for a black man gives me a great deal of hope for our community. Further, that a man named Barack Hussein Obama was able to succeed at a time when people’s minds have been distorted through the lingering tactics of fear that resulted from 9/11, is nothing less than extraordinary.

    I am proud today of my country. I know it won’t happen in my time, but now I know people are actually able to set aside religion, color, ethnicity and someday even sexual orientation to do what is right.

    Today is a good day.
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    Nov 05, 2008 2:57 PM GMT
    SAHEM62896 saidI really want to know what those of you, both caucasian and not, who lived through the 60s and saw the US Civil Rights movement in its infancy are thinking about today as America sees it's first African-American President-elect. Did you ever think it would lead to something like this?


    No, a very great thing, and I'm still looking forward to our first female US President, too.

    I was born in 1949, same year we got our first TV, and I watched news even as a little kid, and remember a great deal of it even today. And all my teen years were in the 1960s, a fantastic and scary time, with political & social turmoil, devastating urban riots, civil rights marches, Vietnam, peace demonstrations, campus unrest, traumatic assassinations.

    But also the birth of a whole new generation of music, and muscle cars, silly hippie clothes and long hair, Honda motorcycles for everyone, fast food chains, anti-establishment humor, the generation gap, James Bond movies, the Space Race and following satellites in the night sky, and finally men on the Moon.

    Instead of Baby Boomers, we could also be called the first PTSD generation, because we went through upheaval like never before, even including the Great Depression. Sudden economic hardship is ordinary & comprehensible in a way, but what we experienced in the 1960s was unprecedented at every level: politically, socially, militarily, technologically, emotionally.

    Almost every day brought a new jolt, until we were numb to the terrible headlines. Some "dropped out" and some joined the Peace Corps. I joined the Army, for reasons too complex to explain here.

    And today we have a Black President-Elect, which is a great and noble thing for our country. That dream was expressed in the 1960s, that every child should be able to say "I want to be the President" when asked about their future goals, regardless of race or gender.

    It was idealistic, and we knew a woman or a person of color wouldn't attain that goal for many years yet, but now it has happened. And there's a lot of us old veterans from those crazy years who are very happy.
  • tailgaytor

    Posts: 41

    Nov 05, 2008 3:08 PM GMT
    WE as a country have arrived. Anyone really CAN be what they set their minds to be.



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    Nov 05, 2008 3:47 PM GMT
    tailgaytor saidWE as a country have arrived. Anyone really CAN be what they set their minds to be.


    Correction: anyone but gays. Once again, every anti-gay initiative appears to have passed (after some confusion I had about CA's amendment approval threshold versus my state of Florida, where it passed, too, with 62%).

    We gays are hated in our own country. No gay will ever be President in my lifetime, nor yours.
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    Nov 05, 2008 4:48 PM GMT
    I am euphoric. The USA also elected the first Catholic VP. Now maybe one of these days way out in the future and probably after I have turned to dust there will be a gay pres. Well, hey, one can hope!!
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    Nov 05, 2008 5:16 PM GMT
    alexander7 saidI am euphoric. The USA also elected the first Catholic VP. Now maybe one of these days way out in the future and probably after I have turned to dust there will be a gay pres. Well, hey, one can hope!!


    John F. Kennedy was a Catholic President, elected in 1960. But I don't expect a gay President in my lifetime, nor yours.
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    Nov 05, 2008 5:35 PM GMT
    Sahem, I am thrilled.

    Because I said certain things in my high school American History class (in rural NE, 196icon_cool.gif, I had a classmate yell "Ni**er-Lover!" at me downtown, and remarkably stupid things written in my yearbook when it was passed around.

    My first political loyalty was to Robert Kennedy. My first vote was for McGovern.

    I have an adopted niece whose father was black, her mother white.

    Researching my ancestry I came face to face with census records listing the slaves (2 adults and 2 children) on the farm.

    Beyond all that, I believe that the man is of superior intelligence, superior self-control, determined to put together a cabinet and gov;t for us all.

    I'm proud of the whole process, even the parts of politics I hate I can forget for a day.
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    Nov 05, 2008 5:37 PM GMT
    And now I know I can't type the numeral "eight" without putting on my shades.
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    Nov 05, 2008 5:48 PM GMT
    "But I don't expect a gay President in my lifetime, nor yours."


    Not an issue for me. Whether this happens or not will dpend on the person, not just the climate. What I have already seen are gay people rising to influence here and there in ways that would have seemed impossible 40, 30 or possibly 20 years ago.

    The speaker of the NYC city council is a lesbian. My assemblyman in Albany is gay. We are an evolutionary species with a genuine but limited tolerance and taste for revolution.


    CPCavafy, the great (gay) Egyptian/Greek poet, wrote this in 1908.

    Hidden Things

    From all I did and all I said
    let no one try to find out who I was.
    An obstacle was there that changed the patter
    of my actions and the manner of my life.
    An obstacle was often there
    to stop me when I began to speak.
    From my most unnoticed actions,
    my most veiled writing -
    from these alone will I be understood.
    But maybe it isn't worth so much concern,
    so much effort to discover who I really am.
    Later,, in a more perfect society,
    someone else made just like me
    is certain to appear and act freely.
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    Nov 05, 2008 7:53 PM GMT
    It is stunning. I worked for rural weekly newspapers in Georgia when I finished undergrad. Although this was well past the adoption of the Civil Rights Act, segregation was still rampant.

    I remember filing my first story about an automobile wreck. I'd written: "Six teenagers were killed in a fiery head-on collision last night...."

    When the article came out it read: "Four white teenagers were killed in a fiery head-on collision last night."

    Then several paragraphs down, it said: "Two colored teenagers were also killed in the collision."

    I remember a three-way race for the democratic nomination for mayor in one town. One of the contestants was black. The city's power brokers got together and, at a secret meeting, took a vote to force one of the white men to drop out, so that the black man could not become the nominee. (There was no Republican nominee, of course.)

    It was customary in the judicial circuits in those towns to hold "guilty pleas days." On these, every person who had been arrested on some minor charge was invited to come to the courthouse to plead guilty in exchange for a minor fine. I'd say 99 percent of them were poor and black and most of the charges were absurd.

    What usually happened was that the sheriff and DA secured a promise that the arrested person would vote the way they told them to in the next election. So, the judge would let them off, and the sheriff and DA would cash in next election. Most of these people were bused to the courthouse to cast absentee ballots, which were then rapidly sealed the evening of the election.

    I got a court order to have the records opened and found that the last two mayoral elections (which openly racist candidates had won) had been decided by absentee ballots. My publisher would not print the story.

    I could go on. I lived in a Faulkner novel for about six years. To those of us who remember the segregated South, Obama's election is really a miracle.






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    Nov 05, 2008 8:00 PM GMT
    Tough stories - but important to tell. And I like the (current) ending.
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    Nov 05, 2008 8:05 PM GMT
    I remember in the late 60s through the early 70s, my father and his union buddies contstantly getting in trouble for fighting the n*rs who'd come to construction job sites to work. I remember in 4th grade getting a beating for kissing a black girl at school. I remember how grateful my father was when after a car accident we'd had in 74 it was a black man who came to our rescue. I remember thinking "what a hypocrite!". We lived down the block from the high school. There were constant race riots. West end (whites) and east end (blacks) constantly at each others throats, vandalism, segregated beaches in long island (not seg'd by law, but blacks would never venture onto a white beach and vice-versa.

    Fun times.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Nov 05, 2008 8:07 PM GMT
    As an ex hippie from Boston in the 60s, I honestly never thought I would live to see the day when some of the things we fought for came to fruition.

    I marched with Dr King, protested the Vietnam war in marches and sit-ins and generally fought for these things, so when Barak Obama was declared President elect.... I had tears in my eyes from all the emotion,
    Even though Prop 8 passed, the fact that we had Legal gay marriage in CA, and still have it in Conn and my home state of Massachusetts is again, something I thought would NEVER happen!

    I feel now that all of the ideals of my generation that I fought so hard for are now validated! What a great time to be alive and healthy in America.
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    Nov 05, 2008 8:11 PM GMT
    ObsceneWish saidI could go on. I lived in a Faulkner novel for about six years. To those of us who remember the segregated South, Obama's election is really a miracle.


    The first time I attended the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, I saw restrooms and drinking fountains that were labeled "White" and "Colored": in 1970!

    I was shocked, and thought maybe this was some sort of historical thing. It wasn't.

    The Whites in the Deep South still hate Blacks, and what was once the Solid South for Democrats, is now the Solid South for Republicans. Not a single state below the Mason-Dixon Line voted for Obama, as I had predicted (except Florida, which isn't really in the Old South). Let them be proud of their accomplishment.

    I dated a girl in Alabama (!) when I was an Army Captain, and she had a grandmother in her 80s. Once, knowing I was from the "Noth" she told me:

    "Now you Yankees think we hate Negroes. But that's not true! Just last week I attended a (fox) hunt in Georgia, and we were serenaded by these Black boys before the hunt began. And they sang so nice, and we just applauded those boys so good. Which shows we don't have any prejudice against them at all."

    Yeah, right. And now the Republicans are the new Southern racists.
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    Nov 05, 2008 8:18 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    alexander7 saidI am euphoric. The USA also elected the first Catholic VP. Now maybe one of these days way out in the future and probably after I have turned to dust there will be a gay pres. Well, hey, one can hope!!


    John F. Kennedy was a Catholic President, elected in 1960. But I don't expect a gay President in my lifetime, nor yours.


    Hey Red V, I know about Kennedy, I wrote the first Catholic VP as in Vice President
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    Nov 05, 2008 8:28 PM GMT
    alexander7 saidHey Red V, I know about Kennedy, I wrote the first Catholic VP as in Vice President


    I understand, but I wanted to note to others that we already had a Catholic President, which makes a Catholic VP of less import.
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    Nov 05, 2008 8:42 PM GMT
    Thank you all for sharing.... it's fascinating to read what you have written.

    I had started another thread asking people who remember the riots at the DNC in Chicago in 1968 to talk about the difference between then and the vibe last night 40 years later. I would so love to hear from someone who was there for both of those events...
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    Nov 05, 2008 10:58 PM GMT
    Red VespaThe first time I attended the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, I saw restrooms and drinking fountains that were labeled "White" and "Colored": in 1970!

    I was shocked, and thought maybe this was some sort of historical thing. It wasn't.


    When I was a kid, my father would drag us almost every weekend to a restaurant here outiside Atlanta called Aunt Fanny's Cabin. It was supposedly located in a (greatly expanded) slave cabin belonging to Aunt Fanny, who fried renowned chicken. (It turns out to have all been made up.)

    It was Atlanta's "best restaurant." The lobby was decorated with hundreds of pictures of celebrities who had eaten there. My main memory was of a picture of Christine Jorgensen, the first public, glamorous transsexual. That was my first exposure to the world of sexual oddity (not counting my own imagination).

    Of course, only white people dined here and only black people waited tables and worked in the kitchen. When you sat at your table, a black kid would come to the table, poke his head through a huge blackboard menu, and recite it sing-song style to you. (It is painful to write about this backward shit.)

    Then, of course, a woman wearing Mammy drag would wait on your table. Halfway through your meal, all the women would gather by the piano to sing "Negro spirituals." After the performance, they would walk through the restaurant, shaking jars for tips for their church.

    We went to this place constantly until my grandmother visited from Philadelphia and staged a fit at the table about the "godforsaken racist racket." It remained open for years, into the 90s, I think, and then the building was moved and now serves as a "welcome center" to the county in which it is located.

    We also have a park, Stone Mountain, that is a monument to the Confederacy. It features a huge carving in the side of the mountain of the Confederate generals on horseback.

    Summers, the park hosts a laser show with music. I don't know if they are still doing this, but even 7 or 8 years ago, they closed the shows by blaring "Dixie." They outlined the figures on the mountain with lasers, and caused them to look like they were marching off the mountain face. This caused the all-white crowd, decked out in their best hog-killing overalls, to punch the air, let loose with the Rebel yell and swear allegiance forever to Dixie.

    I could go on...and on....and on....and on.....



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    Nov 05, 2008 11:08 PM GMT
    Though I grew up in Nebraska, my Dad is from North Carolina. We made a pilgrimage back every summer. I don't remember the racial scene there in the 50s and 60s, not at all/


    My granddad was a grocer, and extended a lot of credit during the depression. My Dad has told me more than once that when things got better, many of his white customers disappeared and started trading elsewhere, rather than pay up their debts. But not one of the black families failed to pay their bills.

    That my granddad made this clear to his son, who made it clear to me, is important to me. I love them both for it.
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    Nov 05, 2008 11:52 PM GMT
    ObsceneWish saidWhen I was a kid, my father would drag us almost every weekend to a restaurant here outiside Atlanta called Aunt Fanny's Cabin. It was supposedly located in a (greatly expanded) slave cabin belonging to Aunt Fanny, who fried renowned chicken. (It turns out to have all been made up.)


    In the mid-1950s my father would sometimes take me to one of his supermarkets with him in the summer, to sorta babysit me, whenever my mother's schedule, who was an attorney, didn't work out. I also had a Nanny, but I guess she had days off or something.

    And for lunch at one store he'd take me to a Black-owned diner. Everyone there would know him, and call him "Steve" and he knew them all by their own first names, as well. They'd all laugh and freely socialize just like I'd see my Father do with his powerful White friends.

    And I was expected to show as much respect and good manners to all those Black people as I would to any adults. We were always the only White people there.

    Years later my Father told me he had done that deliberately, to expose me to Black people, because my privileged life never brought me into contact with Blacks.

    It sounds very patronizing in retrospect I know, but I admire my Father for having at least thought to do that, at a time when the US was in great racial turmoil. I never thought of him as a Liberal, and in fact he held Republican elective office.

    But I wonder how many other fathers would have done something similar with their sons in the 1950s? I cherish my late Father's memory.