[lit-ideas] Re: 1968

  • From: Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 15:23:20 -0500

Damn Socrates. You'd have liked Canada. And I'm sure Canada would've liked you.


John Wager wrote:

I was almost a Canadian in 1968. That year two things happened: I graduated from college, and the U.S. Draft Law changed so that one could no longer get a student deferment for graduate school. Ooops. My senior thesis advisor said that I would be crazy NOT to go to Canada; a philosophy student at war would probably not only get himself killed for nothing, but he might also get others into difficulties. The thesis advisor said that he had already made overtures to some friends in the Toronto area and I could stay with them if I wanted to go. Unfortunately, that year I also re-read Plato's CRITO, and that darned old Socrates convinced me that until the U.S. government ordered me to do something that was itself clearly wrong, I had the obligation to at least let myself get drafted. The next time I saw Toronto was flying over it from Ft. Dix New Jersey to Vietnam.

I was already, but just barely, in Canada when the Grant Park riots occured in Chicago. Interestingly, the man who teaches film studies here at Nipissing is also an ex-pat American who was actually in Grant Park that tumultuous spring. I was still in Chicago for the riots following the assassination of MLK. But I was already in Toronto when Robert Kennedy was assassinated. The US seemed like a sinking ship at the time. We watched the news every night and worried. Probably we didn't worry enough, not recognizing the seeds of today's world. Reading back over that paragraph, I see the word ex-pat. I don't ever see myself that way. I've been Canadian over twice as long as I was ever American.
Ursula,   musing in the morning sunshine

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