"We Must End Our Dependency On Foreign Oil. We Must Find An Alternative Energy Source."
THESE WORDS WERE SPOKEN BY: (choose)
A. President George W. Bush in 2008
B. People branded Communists and Anti-American in 1970.
Both A & B
Many of you were not there and many of you don't remember.
Let me recreate the times for you.
It was the first "Earth Day," a worldwide event focusing on saving the planet and environment in 1970. For the first time on a large scale, young people and other liberal-minded individuals were bringing into focus the destruction of the earth and its resources. A chief target was the oil companies. Not only for their greed and political control but for destroying the air we breathe from the usage of burning oil.
And if you dared to challenge the oil companies--you were challenging America. You were demeaning the flag, mom and apple pie. You were a Communist. You were against free enterprise, capitalism and Democracy. You were Anti-American.
The oil companies had become part of American culture. Pulling into the Texaco station (think "Back to the Future") was part of the American experience. Americans had their favorite service station, could pick up branded memorabilia with a fill-up and regarded oil companies with the same enthusiasm that they did Coca-Cola.
When these radical hippies began to call for an alternative to oil, they were branded Communists. They were no different than the VietCong we were fighting in Vietnam.
I AM NOT EXAGGERATING.
Any words that dare call for an alternative to oil was an attack on America itself.
In the last few weeks, the question has been raised, "Why didn't America start working on an alternative source of energy 30 or 40 years ago?"
Now you know why. The nostalgia and good feelings that Americans got when they saw the sign of their favorite service station evoked memories of being with mom and dad and sis and big brother in the family Chevy or Ford.
The discussion of an alternative to oil would simply not be tolerated.
I know exactly where I was on June 5, 1968 just after midnight. How could I ever forget?
As a 15-year-old with a quite sophisticated sense of politics, I had just celebrated with hundreds of other people at the Robert F. Kennedy for President headquarters in San Diego, California.
We had watched RFK on TV as he had just won the California primary and had given his famous victory speech, "And now on to Chicago"...
We piled into a car "Let's go up to Los Angeles and celebrate at the Ambassador Hotel!," "I don't know, we have school tomorrow" "What do you want to do?" echoed back and forth in the car, we turned on the radio to further savor the moment...then a hush fell throughout the car...
"NBC News is reporting that shots rang out just after Senator Kennedy declared his victory in California and have seriously injured him and others...stay tuned for further details..."
We were all speechless and headed back home...where we were greeted by alarmed parents with TVs blaring after midnight: "Do you know what has happened???" "Yes." "Are you alright?" "Yes." ...but not really...nobody was...and all American's lives would be changed and affected forever.
You see, from the minute in March, Robert "Bobby" F. Kennedy declared he would be a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination after President Lyndon "LBJ" Johnson dropped out, I volunteered after school daily and all weekends at his San Diego headquarters. I worked with the greatest enthusiasm for this unique man. Why?
He loved all Americans equally and wanted to see all of them given the same rights--whether they were white, black, brown, red, yellow or any shade in-between. And the people who were not being treated equally in this country could sense his genuine desires and commitment and responded accordingly. Crowds cheered him on like a rock star wherever he went.
He further wanted to stop the Vietnam War. America's 1960's quagmire that tore this country apart.
He was winning all the primaries and all polls indicated that he would beat any Republican in the fall election. Had he gone on to become President of the United States, the war would have ended early sparing thousands of families the grief that they would experience in the years to come, equal rights programs would have been accelerated, bringing this country closer together instead of further apart as it would move from 1969-72.
Working for Bobby Kennedy as a 15-year old had its advantages and disadvantages. Being part of an actual political campaign was exciting and very rewarding. On the other hand, our country was still full of bigots and racists.
And many stupid teenagers who had no sense of politics other than what they would repeat from mom and dad were quite open about saying those things out loud at school:
"Kennedy is a Nigger-Lover" "Only the Spics and Jews will vote for Kennedy." "What are you wasting your time working for that Communist for?"
After all these years, this leads me to publicly say one thing to those close-minded, racist, bigoted, hateful, prejudiced people:
SCREW YOU. Really, SCREW YOU.
Almost 40 years to the day that Robert F. Kennedy, a man who fought for equality among all Americans was assassinated, a black man has won the nomination for President of a major U.S. political party. He wants to continue to fight for equality for all Americans and end America's latest war. History repeats itself.
And one small note. A few weeks earlier, when Bobby Kennedy was leaving a rally in San Diego, the P.R. people asked that young RFK volunteers come to the airport and put on a show for the media, wearing RFK for President hats, buttons and hold signs. We were not going to be allowed near him, he would enter his private plane in the middle of the air field, we were far away in a terminal.
Well, it seems that when he was walking alone to his plane, one young volunteer ran out the doors, past the tape barriers, to the middle of the tarmac, right to the plane, Senator Kennedy heard somebody coming, turned around, saw an eager 15-year-old-boy wearing his hats and buttons, RFK came down a few steps, took the boy's hand, smiled greatly, looked at him lovingly directly into his eyes for what seemed like an eternity...and then turned around and got into his plane.
The boldest thing I ever did in my life. And I will never regret it.
I was one of the first people on the Internet. In 1986, the Internet was COMPUSERVE, the only way to interact online. I produced all the Entertainment content on CompuServe. I had an EMAIL address. It was 76703,305. A number was people's EMAIL address. You could only send EMAIL to other people with numbers who were members of CompuServe.
Somebody reminded me tonight that I used to have a number for my EMAIL.
I GOOGLED it for fun. To my surprise, up came an electronic newspaper from July 1986 that had been posted on CompuServe.
In it, I had sent a technical letter to somebody regarding how to make their Atari 800 Computer properly access a brand new online first in my Showbiz area--the fact that your computer can play a few seconds of an actual song recording! When computers had 16-64 kilobytes only of memory, this was a phenomenon! The subject is DIGITAL SOUND.
In 1986, the idea of downloading a movie would have been laughable.
Here I was demonstrating that you could download and store 10 seconds of an actual record!
Fm: ELIOT STEIN 76703,305
Dominick, I loaded up DIGSND.XMO
and have downloaded it to verify
that it works. I noticed that you
were having some problems with it
and wish I could help you. There is
not a .DOC file with it, but by the
large number of downloads it and
the accompanying .DIG files have
had, I assume that it is working
for most people. After you download
it, rename it as AUTORUN.SYS on any
disk containing a standard Atari
Dos. Then place up to two .DIG
files on the same disk. (place
other .DIG files on separate disks)
It should auto-boot and a menu of
any .DIG files on the disk will be
displayed. Press your choice, that
file will load, then enter a speed
(54 is normal) and hit start. I
really don't know what else to tell
you. I hope that it works this time
around for you. Many people are
having much fun with it. If you
really have problems, maybe I'll
have to send you a disk containing
the public domain player and a few
sample files. I know what it's like
to not be able to get something to
run on here that looks exciting.
Please let me know if you finally
get it to work or what.