Nov. 28th, 2008

You know everyone has those moments in their lives when they can remember exactly what they were doing when something important went down. If you are of a certain age, you know exactly where you were and what you were doing when JFK was assassinated or the Challenger shuttle went up in flames.  If you lived in San Francisco in the 70s you knew exactly what you were doing when the news went around that George Moscone and Harvey Milk were killed in their offices in City Hall or a week earlier when the announcement came about the People's Temple massacre. 

I knew people in the People's Temple.  I had worked with them on political campaigns in the past, and attended school with some of them.  I'd met Moscone and had worked on one of Milk's many political campaigns.  Like many in SF I boycotted FL orange juice because Anita Bryant was the public face of it while she campaigned against gay rights.  I was 19yrs old when Dan White killed Moscone and Milk and it flashed accross the TV while my best friend from HS and I were watching a soap opera.  I remember seeing Dianne Feinstein, a woman who'd been in politics for yrs, crying as she announced they were both dead.  I found out later, she'd found the bodies.  I remember looking at L and saying 'oh shit!'  We really thought it was one of Jim Jones's assassination teams(the ones he'd bragged about).  It turned out to be Mr. White who had no connection to the Temple, but had connections to the Board of Sups.  It was a horrible event, and believe me, the entire City mourned it.  We were already mourning the people who'd died in Guyana, and now this came at us.  

Harvey Milk was one of those people who made an impression.  God the man had charisma to burn.  I worked one of the campaigns that he lost in the mid 70s as a HS student.  And I remember the energy he had.

There is a movie out about his life now, with Sean Penn and the trailer looks good.  I haven't seen it yet but I intend to.  From what I see in the trailer Penn nailed the character.  The 30th anniversary of his death was yesterday, and yeah I was remembering, partly because the movie is out.  I find myself wondering what would he have been if he'd lived past that day in 1978.  How would he have handled the AIDS epidemic that decimated the community in the 80s, the fight for the right to marriage in this decade,  the Bush and Reagan presidencies.  He'd be 78 now if he'd lived through all that. 

I find myself missing that time.  The 70s for all the cynicism and disco were good times.  There was an energy in the air that has been gone for a long time.  I think it's coming back with the new administration.  We can see change coming that was promised all that time ago.  

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rhiannonmr

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