1/13/2017

Diary of a Time Traveling Antiwar Protestor

This is the diary written by a traveler from the 20th Century, specifically from 1967. This traveler wasn´t part of a scientific expedition, but the innocent victim of a time warp, a phenomenon of incomprehensible origin which strikes humans once in a while, but which remain under recorded by the complete lack of proof proffered by those who travel through time and manage to survive.

Diary Text Follows:

We planned for months the protest of October 21st (that´s in 1967).  We met and read about Vietnam, some brought letters written by friends stuck over there, others exchanged notes on how to escape the draft, get a deferment, whether to get a chick pregnant with triplets was feasible, the trip to Canada….and rolled joints.

The protest movement wasn´t exactly invented by an ingenious brain. It was well advertised, but it hardly needed it: the seductive nature, and the energy behind it, came from the simple fact that most of the participants were middle class kids who didn´t want to go die or lose their legs to make Vietnam free for democracy. There was a lot of talk about the poor Vietnamese, but that was the cover. Nobody really cared for gooks, especially anti American commie gooks who dressed in black and stuck sharp bamboo sticks under prisoners´ toe nails.

On October 20th we formed a convoy to get to the Pentagon. I was greatly surprised to see so many elderly people—some of them were as old as 50. Most of them were parents of prospective draftees, although some of them seemed to be radical college professors, the same guys who taught us that dropping LSD was liberating, and that free love ensured a healthy future.

Typical anti Vietnam War demonstrators in 1967

That day we hit the road I felt we were on our way to a great adventure. Boy was I way off the mark. . It was wonderful to escape our daily routine, and I especially enjoyed having sprinkle donuts with strong coffee brought by one of the older couples. I was satisfied with the picnic atmosphere until, early on the 21st,  we got close to the Pentagon, and we disembarked next to a crowd of rowdy characters chanting antiwar slogans.  At that time I wished to be elsewhere. I saw the faces of my travel companions, and they too seemed a bit lost. After all, we were a very civilized group, we just wanted to avoid going to Vietnam, and we had mixed in with a crowd which appeared ready to burn the Pentagon to ashes. It just didn´t seem right.

So as we approached the Pentagon and saw the tear gas cloud, our small group huddled under a tree, and debated whether to get involved in the fight. And then we saw it: a supernatural light coming from above, a spooky fog, and the ground began to shake.

Next thing we knew, we were all laid on the ground next to the same tree, but the crowd had disappeared. We shook ourselves out of our slumber, and stared at the cars going by…they were small, egg shaped, and lacked the customary tail fins. We also noticed a few people walking across the boulevard…heads down, talking to a small object they held in their hands, which seemed to answer and occasionally drove them to touch it as if they were typing.

I also noticed the sky was gray. Much grayer than it had been hours before. And it was definitely much colder than usual for October in Washington DC, about 30 degrees F  (later I would find we had time traveled to the winter of 2017, and that the planet´s average surface temperature had increased one degree F, so I imagine that day the temperature would have been 29 degrees F or even lower if global warming hadn´t happened).

We walked down the avenue until we found a kindly old man, who looked at us and smiled “Those dyed tied down T-shirts sure look like the ones I used to wear 50 years ago”.

 I whispered to my friends the guy was a bit goofy, and my companions seemed to agree, so we ignored him. But then he took a small rectangular object out of his pocket and asked us if he could take “a selfie with you guys”. We were a bit confused, but decided to humor him, stood in a tight group around him, and dutifully smiled as he said “Cheese” and held the small gadget up in the air.

 At that point I got a glimpse of our image printed on the gadget´s surface, and that´s  when I began to realize that something was really wrong. So I asked him if he could explain how the device worked.

The old man answered “I´m not sure, I got this for my birthday present.  I´m just a social sciences college professor teaching “Climate Change Communicational Strategy” and “Micro-aggression Avoidance” in the School of Engineering”.

As you can imagine, we were quite confused.

I began to feel panicky, the whole scene was like something from a science fiction movie, so I decided to ask him a few questions.

“Tell us, what happened to the antiwar demonstration we were having today?”

The old man answered “Son, we haven´t had a good antiwar demonstration since 1971. We tried to drum up some in 1999, when Clinton was bombing Kosovo, and again in 2003, when Bush invaded Iraq, but people didn´t come. College students today are too focused on fighting global warming and going to the Black Lives Matter meetings. But those lack the energy we used to have back in Vietnam War days. I guess young people put more energy into protesting when they got skin in the game, like they did when they were being sent to Vietnam”.

This is when I had realized for sure that, somehow, we had traveled into the future, so I asked him who was president, and what happened to the Vietnam war.

Seeing my confusion, he must have felt I was either faking it or had escaped from an asylum, so he spoke very slowly, almost as reciting a lesson for a 10 year old:

“The President is Donald Trump, the guy who runs Miss Universe and owns casinos, he´s married to Melania, an Eastern European and a former model. We lost the Vietnam War in 1972, but as it turned out it didn´t really matter. Today Vietnam is capitalist, just like Red China, and they sell us all sorts everything from toys to brand name sneakers. The USSR disappeared, and today they are ruled by a religious former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, who says he wants to be America´s friend”.

So I insisted “So where do they send the soldiers they draft?” And he answered

“Didn´t you hear? The Pentagon doesn´t draft anymore. They just pay professionals, and those are mostly sent to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and places like that. We also got some troops being sent to Poland to stop the Russian menace, on account that Obama thought Russia taking over Crimea was a shame”.

By then I realized things had definitely changed for the worse, and sighed.

“Wow, man.  I always thought Crimea was Russian anyway. When did they lose it? This is all so heavy. I sure wish I could smoke a joint, this is way too much for me”

The old man smiled and offered me a professionally rolled cigarette and said “Here, I got this in the Colorado store, it´s California Wowie, genetically modified to twist your head into a pretzel but leaves no side effects” 

I looked at him suspiciously, and wondered if he was a pig trying to get me to smoke a joint in public. But he lit it up, took a drag, and said:

“Go on, kid. I don´t know where they´ve been keeping you, but it´s legal. Even President Obama and Michelle use this stuff, it´s all legit”.

So I took the joint, dragged a bit, and passed it around to the rest of our group, who had been staring amazed at the old man as he put us up to date. And then I asked:

“So who´s this President Obama, and who is Michelle”?

And he went on to explain that President Obama was a former community organizer, who had won the  2008 election,  got the Nobel Peace Prize, and had just left the job after making peace with the Castro dictator who ruled Cuba, been directing traffic during the ongoing Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and other military actions by USA forces,  and had been threatening Russia with war. 

Michelle, it seems, was his wife, and she was very bitter because Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton, a former first lady, for the presidency. I guess first ladies are a tight group, and she had taken this Hillary´s defeat real hard.

This got me a bit shook up. In the world I came from all those Muslim countries were known to be a bit hostile to Israel, but they sure didn’t seem hostile enough towards the USA to merit having US troops fighting over there, even if they were professionals and nobody worried enough if they got killed or wounded to start an antiwar demonstration. How had this come to be?  So I asked

“And this President Trump, the Miss Universe dude, what does he think about what´s going on?”

The man sighed and he explained

“I don´t know about Trump, he´s saying he wants to build a wall to stop a Mexican invasion, let Putin keep Crimea, because it used to be Russian before it ended up in Ukraine after the Soviet Union broke up, and make an alliance with the guy to destroy the radical Muslims in Syria, Iraq, and other Muslim nations, Oh, I almost forgot:  he also wants to make sure we make American cars in Detroit”.

At that point most of us time travelers fainted. What happened next will be the subject of my next entry. 

Further Reading: Former NBA Star Chris Mullin Join the Mets

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