Tuesday, April 25, 2017

the last book I ever read (South and West: From A Notebook by Joan Didion, excerpt four)

from South and West: From A Notebook by Joan Didion:

Charles L. Sullvan, introduced as “lieutenant governor of the state of Mississippi and a member of the Clarksdale Baptist Church,” rose to speak. “I have come to think we are living in the era of the demonstrators—unruly, unwashed, uninformed, and sometimes un-American people—disrupting private and public life in this country.” He complained of the press, “for whom two loud ‘Ah Hate Mississippis’ would be sufficient. This adult generation accomplished more than any generation in the history of civilization—it started the exploration of God’s limitless space. I simply will not hear them cry Pig for a situation they themselves began. Ah don’t believe the right to disagree is the right to destroy the University at Jackson or Kent State or [the “even” was implicit] Berkeley. If it is true, as they say, that they have despaired of the democratic process, then I and my fellow demonstrators shall absolutely insist that if our system is to be changed it shall be changed in the ballot box and not in the streets.” He finally ended on the rote ending to southern speeches: “We can live together in the dignity and freedom which their Creator surely intended.”

With many of the Highway Patrol as honored guests there was an undertone to this lunch and throughout his speech, since it was the Highway Patrol who had done the shooting at Jackson.

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