As Occupy Wall Street sympathizers picket on Lexington’s Main Street — and on main streets across America and around the world — veterans of another protest movement will gather in Lexington this weekend for a reunion to remember their demonstrations against the Vietnam War more than four decades ago.
Guy Mendes, a Lexington writer, photographer and retired producer for Kentucky Educational Television, was one of those University of Kentucky students who participated in the Lexington protests during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He has written a great piece about that time, titled The Most Dangerous Moment in UK History, for the community newspaper North of Center. Mendes’ piece is a guided tour through the Lexington of those years, and it is well worth reading.
It was easy then for many people to dismiss the Vietnam War protesters as dirty, dangerous hippies or immature students. But we all know now that they were right. The Vietnam War was a horrible national mistake — one we foolishly repeated in Iraq.
It is easy now for many people to dismiss the Occupy Wall Street protesters as (choose your own derogatory adjective). But a report yesterday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office offered further confirmation of the truth behind their biggest complaint: growing economic inequity in America.
Now, as then, we would be wise to focus on the message rather than the messengers.