Fifty years ago, I halted my horse by the mandrakes, far from the house, so my parents would not hear my sobs. I stepped out of the saddle and sat on a maple, newly fallen. The National Guard shot thirteen students at Kent State. Four died. Just because they protested the Vietnam war.
As a toddler, my parents put me to bed before sunset. They left the radio on. I heard the words Castro. Khrushchev. Nuclear missile crisis. Cuba. The bald man Khrushchev shouted to America: “We will bury you.”
My childhood was riddled by assassinations: John F. Kennedy 1963; Malcolm X 1965; Martin Luther King 1968; Robert Kennedy 1968.
Cities burned. Radicals bombed campus buildings. Would there be a United States by the time I grew up?
One plane ride home, I was seated next to a former radical who conspired to incite the 1968 DNC riots, a member of the Chicago 7 who’d become a stockbroker. He exemplified how we learned to get along, how we prospered.
We are afraid that we might carry the virus and kill someone. We are terrified a loved one might die. With people worried about feeding their families and keeping their homes, we might well be on the verge of chaos similar to the 60s. But time has shown that new, surprising things, some good, some terrifying, will find their way to us. Time has shown we can still hope things will get better.
I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.