Page 6 June 21, 1968 Los Angeles Free Press
L. TED RHOADES
TGIF was the password across
the nation. In Los Angeles the day
broke like almost any other June
Friday. Between dawn and midnight
the temperature would rise;
smog would accumulate like a bad
dream; my wife would lose her
virginity; and, the Los Angeles
Police Department would spill the
blood and crack the skulls of
hundreds of middle-class, white
American citizens at the Century
Plaza, reminiscent of the
good ol’ Gestapo days.
Back in Washington on this 1967
June day, Senator Dodd was censured
on ONE COUNT of “Financial
misconduct” that” …tended
to bring the Senate into dishonor
and disrepute …” whatever that
means. His misconducts were essentially
the same as those of
The Power Structure had thrown
the book at Adam there are
those who believe that his severe
punishment was more traceable to
his color than to his flamboyance.
Governor Reagan was still notcampaigning
in Omaha, advocating,
among other things, “… the
mining of the Haiphong Harbor.”
In Mississippi James Meredith
continued his lone march
through the State. It was a brave
gesture, but like most civil rights
gestures, it bore no fruit.
To the north and east, in Glassboro,
N.Y. Johnson and Kosygin
took turns grinning into the tv
cameras of the world. Since neither
this country nor the world is
any better this 23 June, either
they agreed on nothing, or just
lied to each other.
My wife and I arrived at the
Cheviot Hills Playground at 4:00
P.M. It was three hours before
the protest parade was scheduled
to move along Pico Boulevard and
the Avenue of the Stars, past the
Century Plaza Hotel where LBJ
Lynda Bird and 1,500 other
Democratic Elite-and-Rich gathered
to scheme about another
four years in the White House
for their Fearless Leader, LBJ.
Already at 4:00 parking was a
problem, and we had to park 3/4
mile from the rallying point. As
we walked we could feel the hostility
of the LAPD,pressingdown
like a humid day. These were
clean cut, bright eyed, noble
looking, Christian young American
men and not all were young
in spic-and-span police uniforms,
but they glared and snarled
as if our presence were a personal
insult to them individually
Overhead the big yellow police
helicopter buzzed back and forth
like a buzzard looking for dead
bodies. It interferred with the
public address system, featuring
Dr. Spock and Muhammad All, and
reminded the assembled that The
Establishment was watching.
We had arrived early deliberately.
I wanted to study the dissenter,
as if he were under a microscope.
I was a veteran protestor,
probably more experienced
than 90% of the gathering, because
I dated back to Ban The
Bomb protests of Steve Alien,
Joe Dolan and Linus Pauling …
when, if we had a hundred concerned
Americans, we felt inspired.
But 23 June was a reappraisal:
did I a middle-aged, non-practicing
Caucasian have anything
in common with the typical protestors?
Could I identify with
them? Could they identify with
me? Or, was the whole ball of
wax a waste of time?
My wife was a virgin. She had
doubts about the sanity of us protestors;
she especially questioned
our attitudes about the police. She
was a typical housewife not necessarily
gullible and naive but
her normal intercourse with the
police was when she saw them
helping kids across a busy intersection;
or a Public Relation Officer
speaking at the PTA: or
hearing reports of the integrity
and glory of the Police over Establishment
television and radio.
And there was always the L.A.
Times. She secretely regretted
that our only son had not become
a police officer.
But on that 23 June, even with
her virginity, she detected the
oppressive hostility of the police.
I studied the 3,000 who were
already there, 2/3rds of them
were hippies bonafide, dedicated,
hippies. I questioned
my middle-classism, middleagism
against their non-conventional-
ism, their non-participationism,
and wondered if maybe
in my advancing years I had become
embittered, cynical and
if I were espousing a lost cause,
sponsored by the fringe-element
of affluent L.A.?
The 3000 grew to 6000, and the
complexion of the crowd changed.’
It grew older, more dignified,
less opaque as the office workers,
clerks, engineers, and other conventional-
dissenters gathered at
the rallying point. And I felt more
and more as if I did identify
as if our cause were not lost.
Overhead Reddin’s mosquito
buzzed and harrassed the crowd.
On the ground non-flying mosquitos
circled round and round
in squad cars, motorcycles, and
in buses loaded with uniformed,
From 6,000 we grew to 10,000,
and eventually to 16,000. Now
the per cent of hippies dropped
from 66% to 25%, and I studied
each one critically, because this
was my baptism to mass-hippieism.
In this group of 4,000
young drop-outs, supposedly a
disgrace to an affluent, intellectual
society, I never saw one
drunk, or one under the influence
of pot; I never saw one
who was abusive, profane, lewd,
belligerant, or insulting. I saw
them practicing their religion of
“love*, and in this respect I
lost my virginity, because it was
my first in-depth study of the
hippie. I never saw one who,
by act or word, disgraced the
gathering, or the country. In
fact they were more adjusted
and mature than most of the nonhippie
society, and I was ready
to identify with them, and hoped
they would accept me.
(Continued on page 8)
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Page 8 June 21, 1968 Los Angeles Free Press
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