Snapshot 2004: Pentagon people sit before Congress attempting to explain some pictures of American military police and others humiliating captives in Iraq by forcing them to pose in ridiculous positions, often nude. At one point during the hearing a half-dozen people in the gallery, all with nice hair and Gap clothes, hold up a small banner and pop their buttons to reveal T-shirts with slogans, all of this as a protest against the war(s) of the new millennium.
Snapshot 1968: Pentagon people meet secretly to decide how many hundreds of thousands of soldiers are needed to conquer one nation (divided in two) called Vietnam. In the streets, thousands of people with many agendas scream and throw bags of excrement and set fires while others simply carry placards with peace signs on them. The police make no distinction and beat the living hell out of everyone.
If this were still the Sixties, effigies of Rummy and President Bush would be burning in the streets. Of the United States. Long-haired freaky folks (where are they now?) would be openly smoking pot or tripping balls on Owsley acid. A barefoot Richie Havens would be breaking the strings of his acoustic guitar singing about optimism and a new day coming. The Young Rascals, led by the incredibly smart and gifted Felix Cavaliere, would be lovin' and groovin' and singin' about it. The revolution was well-flavored with hedonism: Were people smoking pot in protest or to catch a buzz? Getting naked to fight repression or because they were horny? Going to Greynolds Park for secret confabs or because it happens to be one of South Florida's most magnificent green spaces?
It sucked then, it sucks now, but if you combine the best of the Sixties and the best of 2004 all the suckage vanishes in an afternoon of fun, fab music, and enough nostalgia for a million-hippie march. The county's park department is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a Love-In (kids, ask your parents, or maybe your grandparents what that is). In an event both revisionist (fear not tear-gassing) and visionary (a dose of Sixties mentality wouldn't hurt the youth of today), shoeless Richie Havens and Cavaliere's latest version of the Rascals (they dropped the "Young" a long time ago) will perform live. Displays and kiosks will stock everything (good) connected to the Sixties (except pot and acid): beads and clothing from that era, VW Bugs, macramé, poetry, flying discs (Frisbees mostly), tie-dye, films....
The day of groovy good vibes under the towering oaks and palms, the mangroves, sea grape trees, gumbo limbo, and cocoplum might allow some older folks to reminisce about the moments they met in the park while kids will benefit from both education and enjoyment. No matter which side of the peace pipe you're on, the idea is to celebrate the park, and all of Miami-Dade's parks. Nothing to protest here.