1972: fighting against the war

Wading through the diary, my friends, the Okie, and I were involved in various activities fighting against the war in Vietnam. Some of the references are oblique, I acknowledge.

M 2 Oct: Listen in on Barry’s Guerrilla Theatre Committee. This one guy kept pressing Barry on whether he killed people or not. [I take it that Barry was a Vietnam Vet against the war. The others in the room were upset with this inquisition.]

W 4 Oct: Organizing an action against Ed Nixon, Richard’s brother, who was coming to town. About 60 people were at a meeting in Gage Hall planning activities, creating posters, and doing publicity for the action.

F 6 Oct: A group of us, including Michael [with whom I had gotten arrested in May 1972], went to the Poughkeepsie police station and told an assistant to the chief that we would have a protest the following week. We didn’t think we needed permission, but we received it anyway.

M 9 Oct: Richard Nixon said four years ago on this date, “Those who could have had a chance for four years and could not produce peace should not be given another chance.” – Santa Monica, CA, 1968.

Ed Nixon was at a Poughkeepsie restaurant eating with some fur coat-wearing admirers of his brother. Some students from Vassar and Bard protested there. Most of the protesters were kitty-corner from the Nixon re-election headquarters. We were handing out anti-RMN literature. One woman took the piece I handed her and tore it up into a dozen pieces, exclaiming, “How could you do this to this to that man?”

Ed Nixon was surrounded by four or five Secret Service agents as someone from our group presented him with a letter.


I hitchhiked to Binghamton on Friday, October 13, stayed with my parents, and saw some friends.

M 16 Oct: My mom took me to the Binghamton draft board. A bunch of us took a bus up to Syracuse. Got “oriented,” filled out a form regarding crimes and political activities, had a mental test, and received a physical (ears, eyes, back, X-ray, urine sample, blood sample, eye test, and hearing test).

Fill out Form 98, the Moral Waivers document, in triplicate, plus another form. Went back to Binghamton. The next day, I hitched back to New Paltz.

Tu 31 Oct: letter from my draft board: “undetermined status.”


Th 2 Nov: attend McGovern rally. Pete Seeger sings Lincoln Jefferson, Last Train to Nuremberg. Carol Langley (ex-New Paltz student) sings: The Real American Man, Lullabye (Medgar Evers), another song. Fred Sternam (Drew U) sings The Ballad of Spiro Agnew, wiretap the Election, We’ve Got to Get Together. Brother Kirkpatrick, the MC  sang Stop the Fires of Napalm and Death Don’t Have No Mercy. Seeger: Wimowek, We Shall Overcome.

I signed up to poll watch from 9 am-noon on Election Day.

F 3 Nov: my friend Mark and I distributed McGovern literature in Woodstock. A dog nipped Mark in the leg.

M 6 Nov: Making calls for McGovern to Democrats with mixed results.

Tu 7 Nov: By the time I had gotten to New Paltz from Kingston, c 7:30 pm, the media had already called the election for Nixon, 322 electoral votes so far) to 17. He’d eventually get 521, including New York, which depressed me. 14 women and 16 black people in Congress.

I watched speeches by Shriver, McG, Agnew, and Nixon. The latter said, “It’s only a victory if succeeding generations look back at the 1970s and say, ‘God Bless America.'”

Sa 18 Nov: Went to an antiwar rally with others from college. Later, I watched the John Wayne movie The Green Berets.

And a whole lot more

There is a lot more detail in the diary, most notably that the Okie and I moved from the roach-infected apartment in Kingston, where we stayed only eight weeks,  to the much nicer place at 34 D Colonial Arms in New Paltz at the end of November.

Also, I did more antiwar activities, attended my classes, hung out with my friends, read comic books, and negotiated life with the Okie.

Ultimately, I’d like to get through 1973 before 2024.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial