The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, June 30, 1988, Summer, Page 4, Image 4

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Page T-i j • - • i Nebraskan
4 1"^ 1 T O "t* 1 PI I Thursday, June 30,1988
Royko remembers fun
of Chicago convention
We're closing in on the 20th an
niversary of the 1968 Demo
cratic convention in Chicago.
That means newspapers, magazines
and TV stations are going to look back
and ponder the historic significance of
that wild week in Chicago.
Just about everybody who was
there will be telling their stories — the
politicians, anti-war protesters, po
licemen and news people.
One former high-ranking police
man told me: “I’ve already been inter
viewed four times. And I didn’t even
hit anybody on the head.”
We’ll sec flashbacks of protesters
taunting cops and cops chasing pro
testers. We’ll see Sen. Abe Ribicoff
scolding Mayor Daley and Daley
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paddy wagons, tear gas, bandaged
heads, the National Guard and shaggy
poets chanting their mantras in
Grant Park._
1 he long-haired yippics, who nave
become short-haired yuppies, w ill talk
about their idealistic anti-war senti
ments. The retired cops w'lll ask w hy
idealists thoughi they could end a war
by lobbing bags of do-do at them.
Some political historians will say
that because Daley was bullheaded,
the convention became a riot and that
put Richard Nixon, instead of Hubert
Humphrey, in the White House. And
aging Chicago politicians will say that
if it hadn’t been for Daley, Abbic
Hoffman and his dopc-rifldcn pals
would have carried off Chicago’s
womenfolk and eaten babies.
Me? I’ll probably write something
or other when the lime comes. But
right now, when I think about that
crazy, turbulent, violent, crazy week,
all I feel is nostalgia. I get so sentimen
tal, my eyes are teary.
How can I feel sentimental and
nostalgic about a week that has been
described as one of the most disgrace
ful in Chicago’s history, if not in the
history of American politics?
That’s easy. It was the last political
convention that was fun, that wasn’t
carefully orchestrated and a big bore.
I’m speaking selfishly, of course.
To those who had their hairy heads
cracked or their political careers dis
rupted, it wasn’t a big hoot. But, hey,
every four years I have to cover these
things. And given a choice between
long, droning speeches or rioting in
the streets, I’ll take tear gas any time.
In 1972, both parties went to Mi
ami. You try sweating out Miami in
August, while listening to George
McGovern, a personality kid, put a
nation to sleep. Or watch a thousand
Republicans in white shoes gaze
reverentially at Richard Nixon and
Spiro Agnew.
Spend a week in New York just to
watch Jimmy Carter floss his teeth.
Or go all the way to Kansas City to
sec if Jerry Ford will stumble off the
I have to admit that 1980 in De
troit had its bright side. A lot of the
small-town Republicans genuinely
feared that Detroit’s black popula
tion might cook them in pots.
And next month we’re going to
Atlanta, where it will be 102 and
humid, and thousands of news
people will spend a week asking each
other: “Do we know what Jesse
wants yet?”
After that, it will be New Orleans,
where it w ill be 105 and humid, w ith
Republicans hoping for a miracle:
George Bush stepping before the
cameras to make his acceptance
squeaks, but instead ripping off his
coal and shirt and suddenly becom
ing Rambo.
If the television networks arc
smart, they wouldn’t bother to show
any of it. They 'd just get out the old
film clips of 1968 in Chicago.
Wouldn’t you rather watch a lat cop
chasing Abbic Hoffman and Jerry
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one more lime, Dick Gregory being
lilled bodily into a paddy wagon?
Five years ago, a big California
politician told me that Chicago
would never get another convention
because of the bitter memories of
1968. Instead, he said, they would
hold the ’84 convention in San Fran
cisco because it is so civili/.ed a city
and would help the Democrats'
So they did. And on the first day of
the convention, a big, burly guy
named Erma came around the press
rooms to announce that there would
be an ejaculation contest that after
noon. Some image.
One of these years, they’re going
to wise up and come back to Chicago
where we know how to show them a
good time. I’m sure we have a lew
canisters left over.
© I bus by the Chicago Tribune
Distributed by the
Tribune Media Services Inc.
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braskan, 34 Nebraska Union, 1400 R
St, Lincoln, Neb. 68588-0448.
John Bruce Daily Nebraskan
Kansas ghosts ‘as real as me and you’
Lieu ranee Questions historian’s definition of a ghost town
When I talked to Betty Brogan
in St. Paul, Kansas yesterday
she was alive as you or me,
apparently sitting up and taking solid
foods. Her husband of 22 years, Ed
Brogan, told me she’d even wandered
next door a few times.
I asked Ed what she was doing up
and around.
Ed told me she had some errands to
do. __________
In her condition? I queried.
What condition was that, Ed re
spo ruled.
Why Ed, I said, as far as Daniel
Fitzgerald of the Kansas Center for
Historical Research in Topeka
knows, your wife is no longer among
That so, Ed pondered.
For that matter Ed, what are you
doing there and what business does a
Ghost Town have with phone serv
F.d was with me then.
It seems Mr. Fitzgerald wrote a
book called “GhostTownsof Kansas"
which includes 99 Kansas towns. An
Assoc iated Press wire story reported
thatoncof the towns, St. Paul,had 7(X)
residents. Thinking perhaps my defi
nition of “ghost town” was askew, I
lealed through the handy Websters
and found: “ghost town, the remains
of a deserted town, permanently
abandoned, csp. for economic rea
Okay, this was an older Websters.
Perhaps the “scientific" definition of
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been amended to include towns with
under l(KX) people or some such
thing. So I called Pal Gastcr over at
the Nebraska Suite Historical Soci
ety, who edits Nebraska History
“Could you define ‘ghost town ’ for
me, please?”
“A town with no one in it, maybe a
few buildings left standing,” she said.
“Would you consider it slightly
irresponsible for an historian to call a
town with 700 people in it ghost
She thought for a second, already
letting the first sounds of a “yes” slip
through her teeth.
“Ycccaas," she committed herself,
“I’d consider that kind of irrespon
sible. But you’d better call back and
talk to Jim Potter, our state historian.
So maybe St. Paul was closing
down and all of its residents were
moving to Parsons, 18 miles away.
One of the resident’s names was listed
in the AP story, so 1 thought I'd call
and see if there was some mistake.
This is when I found out Betty
Brogan, who was*mentioned in the
story, and her husband Ed were still
hanging out.
At first, Ed’s voice from the grave
siarueu me.
Stragglers, l thought.
Haven't you and Betty moved out
of there yet? 1 imagine there w ill be
quite a housing shortage in Parsons
w hat with 700 people moving in and
all, I said, you and Betty best get a
move on.
Ed informed me they had no inten
tions of moving to Parsons or any
where else.
Maybe the Brogans were like those
stubborn old coots who won’t get oil
the sides of erupting volcanos or plant
lawn chairs on their roofs during
See ST. PAUL on 5