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“All Power to the People!”

November 20th, 2008

Alternately titled, “Abbie Hoffman Killed Himself Because of Idiots Like Me.”

We just finished watching “Chicago 10” and it was good. Better than good — it was great. They interspersed news footage, recordings, interviews and court transcripts with computer animation and it was pretty well-done, the splicing and interpretation. Worth a watch, for sure.

I always take everything to heart, you may have already figured this out. But while I’m watching this movie (which my mom watched earlier today, when she was supposed to be playing with her grandkids, sorry, the movie took precedence, at my insistence… and she liked the film a lot, too), I’m thinking, while I’m watching this movie, I was four when the riots at the Democratic Convention took place. My son is now six; my daughter, nine.

This country, my country, our country which I love and hold close in my heart… we’ve been at war for almost the entirety of my children’s lives.

Too long, no?

We’ve been at war, off and on, my entire life.

Too long, no?

I interviewed Abbie Hoffman for the Portland State University newspaper, back in the late ’80s. He was in his apartment in New York, scheduled to come out to the West Coast for a speaking tour which included a stop in Portland. He sounded depressed. He rambled, for close to an hour I recall, while I asked him some questions, intermittently. He wasn’t good at letting other people get a word in edgewise.

Then I made a smartass comment about Jerry Rubin. He fell silent. I felt like an idiot.

Then a couple years later, he died. It may have been suicide, who knows. I was not there.

So Abbie — from one smartass to another — I’m sorry.


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