There are a lot of things happening at once today, in this corner. First and most obvious, it’s May the Fourth, and ever since “Talk Like a Pirate Day” geeks have been inventing their own holidays willy-nilly, making this one Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you,” you see).
Second, and somewhat less obvious unless you happen to live in Herndon, it’s Herndon Town Council election day. As the current town council’s entire fiscal, social, and economic policy has been built on the concept of “Get rid of the [expletive deleted] immigrants!” to the exclusion of all else, including anything that’s actually within the purview of the town council, there has been a strong “Throw the bums out!” sentiment building for some time. The previous election was decided by a matter of 10 votes, so the new round of challengers, sensing that there might actually be a chance to make a difference this time, have really been hitting the bricks. At least two would-be council members actually knocked on the door and spoke to us mano-a-mano, and another called on the phone (instead of using a prerecorded autodialer). And that’s just when they caught us at home … who knows what we missed while we were out? Now, whether this will translate into positive change or simply be an instance of “Throw a bunch of new bums in!” is yet to be seen, but we can always live in hope.
Finally, and probably the most important if the least obvious, today is the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Shootings, in which National Guard troops fired 67 rounds into protesting students (and some who were just trying to get from one class to another) over the course of 13 seconds at Kent State University in Ohio. While technically this happened in my lifetime, I was seven months old at the time and blissfully unaware of what a contentious era I was actually living in. Having read up a bit since then, I still just shake my head. In defense of the soldiers, there were students throwing rocks and tear gas canisters. But as the students were shot from some 70+ feet away, it’s hard to swallow that this was anything but a deliberate attempt to teach the damn hippies a lesson. Whenever somebody in the U.S. is sanctimonious about Tiananmen Square, it’s tempting to mention Kent State and watch them squirm. The scale is certainly different, but the core psychology is exactly the same as far as I can tell.
So … a day packed with moment. Make it a good one, all!