Colfax Avenue runs like a main artery east and west through the center of Denver, Colorado. In the early seventies we were well into the Vietnamese conflict, with sides forming, the “freaks” as the young and drifting homeless called themselves on Colfax back then coalesced in an angry group in the yard of a beautiful Neo-byzantine church whose spire always had marked the center of Denver for many years. The “freaks” unwilling to give any ground, charged the police line. For about a fifteen minutes a running battle ensued with each group pushing the other out of the churchyard just to be pushed back out themselves. The push-me pull-you fight, remarkably, netted no serious injuries and was all over in less than a half hour. I was a runaway teen I thought it was cool that I got to stand across the street and witness the action. Not much of a riot, no issues settled and nothing achieved. A nice little riot but it was ’71 and past the crest of the activist period. We were entering the ‘party period’ where we put all that “mind expansion” we used to claim in order to justify getting screwed to the wall on LSD. But I went to work. My brothers went to work. We were countercultural.
The wounds of the ‘Nam era ran deep. Everyone’s heart was broken back then. The country we had known since birth was being eviscerated every night on the evening news. Images of dogs set on protesters, body counts, burning monks, burning draft cards, burning bras (my favorite) and a burning in my urethra ( the love was free but antibiotics cost) marked my era of coming of age. America was taking stock of her values, looking hard into the soul as reflected in the Vietnam war. There was a sense that we were scrapping the old system with no road map on down the road. Fear and anger colored my experience then.
In the course of a life lived on the very brink of nuclear annihilation, riots on and off campuses, bombs set off by charmers like the Minutemen (another friend of Obama ) did I find such utter contempt like I have in the hearts of Americans, directed at fellow Americans.The cuts are deep now. The race card has been played by both Barack Obama and his top cop, Atty General Holder frequently and to the end of increasing the damage done to the culture. This administration has done nothing but aggravate the wound for at least a generation.