On April 4, 1961 New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello was arrested, whisked to an airplane and deported alone, without money or a change of clothes to Guatemala City on orders of U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
At 6:00 P.M. President John F. Kennedy presided over a meeting in the office of Secretary of State Dean Rusk to finalize plans for the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
A few hours later, I was in a motel meeting room in mid town Detroit, surrounded by family, friends and a gaggle of teen age boys monitoring election returns for the office of Common Pleas Court Judge.
At thirty-one years of age, I had lost five previous elections, and I was not given much chance to beat Andy Wood, a seasoned Traffic Court Referee.
But as the returns came in, my little battalion of high school campaign workers began to whoop and chant my name, and by midnight, we were celebrating a narrow 500 vote victory.
The newspaper story the next day was all about the kids who spread out across the city handing my literature to voters on their way to the polls. I gave them the credit, and they deserved it. The temperature was 38 degrees. The Basilian Fathers at my high school alma mater had looked the other way as the class of 1961 skipped school to greet voters all across a city of almost two million people.
The boys were enthusiastic. They got into the spirit of the thing. Many worked up a little spiel to go with the campaign literature they were handing out. They claimed to be my son, my nephew, my kid brother. They were uniformly polite, cheerful, friendly.
More than one friend told me later that a nice young man campaigned for me in their neighborhood. In June, when they graduated, I spoke at their Commencement Exercises.
Over the next fifty years, I had occasion to run into many of those young men. They turned out to be lawyers, doctors, professors, businessmen of all types. Most of all, they matured into responsible, active citizens.
I got to thinking about the class of 1961 as I watched the swarm of teen agers who poured out of schoolrooms and onto the streets to protest the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
I couldn’t help wondering how many of them had skipped school on Tuesday to work for Hillary Clinton. Surely their enthusiasm and commitment would have made a difference in her campaign.
Maybe she would have carried Michigan. Or Ohio.
How many more votes would she have garnered if those young people had made Hillary signs or Clinton signs and manned busy traffic corners to get the attention of motorists stopped at the light on election day?
I wondered. Did they really care?
Did they really want to get noticed? Did they really want the people of the community to know that they were fired up to help their candidate?
I have to say that what I see on the television; teen agers swarming helter skelter into the streets, with hand made placards, some bearing the Clinton slogan “Stronger Together” and a few asserting the more pithy message “Fuck Trump” is evidence of political enthusiasm, however expressed, however misguided.
But raw enthusiasm doesn’t win elections. I pity those kids and I grieve for their nation. Instead of learning to participate in the democratic process, they are aimlessly experiencing the heady excitement of mob hysteria.
What do they hope to accomplish? Press coverage? Video clips on the six o’clock news? Do they think that a raving mob will somehow intimidate the grown up world to let them have their way? Undo the election returns?
Or do they think that riotous behavior will ignite a revolt; bring about a downfall of constitutional government and result in the installation of Hillary Clinton as President?
They’ve got it wrong. The real heroes, the young people who will lead America in the decades ahead are todays poll workers and phone callers, not the stone throwers and the aimless marchers.
Authored By oldjudgesays