Friday, June 4, 2004

SON, TAKE A GOOD LOOK AROUND: Bruce Springsteen's album Born in the U.S.A. was released twenty years ago today.

Fifteen years ago today was the Tiananmen Square massacre. For those of us old enough to remember, who watched it unfold live on television with Dan Rather narrating what he could (until authorites yanked the plug), it was era-defining and mind-opening: people really could try to change their world. We remember the lone man opposing a stream of tanks. We realized that not everything in the political universe could be stage-managed, but that an unaccountable government could still do what it wanted, brutally crushing dissent with the whole world watching, so long as it had the will.

In hindsight, Tiananmen Square connects backwards to Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement, and forward just a few months later to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Romanian dictator Ceausescu's execution and the end of the Cold War.

But at the time, all I remember thinking was, wow. This is History. Right in front of us. Live. And freedom must be pretty valuable, if this is what people are willing to risk in order to acheive it.

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