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January 28, 1973 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1973-01-28

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impressions of

Number 73 Page Four

Sunday, Jaunary 28, 1973

Rattateers meet defeat

Off the WHAT?
Hell. We had traveled all the way
to Washington, America's Emerald City,
only to find that the once-effervescent
forces of revolutionary confusion had
pulled a .fast one.
The Yippies had changed animals on
The Pig of yesteryear had vanished.
Not so much as an echo of "Off the
Pig" rumbled through the city on this
cold Inaugural morning; none of the
demonstrators seemed old enough to
remember the real live Pig that got
photographed, interviewed, and arrest-
ed during the 1968 Democratic conven-
I felt like an old man who goes back
to his home town and finds his boy-
hood playground has been leveled to
make way for a massage parlor.
In the Pig's place was a Rat.
A 15-foot, nausea-grey, yellow-osed,
three-wheeled papier-mache Rat.
NONE OF US old-timers could un-
derstand the transition of our pet sym-
bol, as it were, from the barnyard to
the sewer. Pigs ain't kosher, sarge, but
that- couldn't be the whole reason.
I approached one of my Yippie breth-
ren and inquired offhandedly about the
change of animals. He replied even
more offhandedly, "Far out."
A second Yippie, who wore a "Rat
hat" which looked suspiciously like a
Mickey Mouse cap (is nothing sacred?
I thought), proved more informative.
"Man, that Rat is how Richard Nixon
appears to us, man," he explained. "It
symbolizes our desire to get rid of all
the rats in this government, man."
But what happened to Pigs? Was the
Rat part of some new tactic?
"I don't know, man. Man, what are
you askin' me all these questions for?"
THE POLICE were equally unin-
formative. As the Yippies galloped
down H Street toward the Union Sta-
tion rally site, Sergeant Manny Kiel-
biewicz roared to the head of the Rat
Pack, as it had come to be known.
High, fat, and staunch astride a
massive Harley - Dayidson Superglide
1200,; Kielblewicz was the picture of
uniformed nondescript expressionless-
ness, and I hoped he would not be
alienated (not to mentioned angered)
by My somewhat disheveled garb.
"We're not expecting any trouble
from these people," ,he monotoned.
He seemed tp have even less under-
standing of the Rat's presence than I
did. On the other hand, most riot po-
lice are distinguished on these occa-
sions by a certain professional ignor-
The Yippies were less silent.
"EAT THE RICH!" cried David Peel,
noted lead singer of The Lower East
And the crowd- echoed, "EAT THE

"We demand that President Adolph
Nixswine commit suicide for the bet-
terment of the American people,"
cried Peel. "We are here in Washing-
ton today to rid this government of
Nixswine and all other Ratlike tenden-
cies. We demand that Nixswine and
his fellow Rats Rattify the treaty.
Gimme an R!"
And so on, until Union Station Plaza
shuddered with the sound of some 400
demonstrators hollering RAT a n d
"NIXON EATS SHIT" in tones that
would suggest a lynch mob.
POINTLESS CHAOS followed. Fight-
ing a bitter wind and an intense lack
of organization, the Yippies marched
off, Rat held high, to join the tail of
the Women Strike For Peace brigade.
The women did not like that idea. Nei-
ther did the police-the Rat, it seemed,
was too wide for the sidewalk parade
Amid cries of "You got the wrong
rat," Manny Kielbiewicz and his uni-
formed cycle squad ended a brief
round of non-productive Rat-related
negotiations by moving swiftly into
the crowd and seizing the unwieldy
"The Rat is now officially impound-
ed by the Washington Metropolitan
Police Department," announced Kiel-
biewicz without even smiling. However
his fellow officers smirked openly.
David Peel led the "Rattateers" in
a stoned rendition of taps for the de-
parting Rat. The Rat declined com-
THE YIPPIES, whom Abbie Hoffman
once described as including 50 mem-
bers, 500 undercover agents, and 1,000
reporters, began to disperse gloomily.
Peel declared that the demonstration
was now two hours old and anyone
who stuck around was on overtime.
The plea failed, but several insub-
ordinate young rowdies, not to be dis-
couraged by dwindling support and
the enemy's pivotal capture, noticed
that the Rat was momentarily un-
guarded as it was slowly hauled away
by a Department of Streets truck.

Personal views
WASHINGTON. It is inhuman in the sense of its awesome
vastness and power that assails weary, footsore visitors
as they trod its fabled streets.
Government buildings and cold marble coffins march in
close file up the wide avenues. Columned monuments vie with
larger than life statuary, both tarnishing with the inexorable
passage of time.
One can stand on the steps of the Capitol and see America
in the distance, a national infinity, beginning from the place
on which you stand.
There was an inhumaness about Washington on inaugura-
tion day 1973. Those able to be in the nation's capital those
days acted out their parts in the giant quadrennial exercise of
It was a play for the absurd, the ridiculous. The Yippies
had their Rat. The Republicans could claim a woman who
boasted that her eighteen ulonth old daughter was the young-
est child in the world to own a full-length mink coat.
There was also nostalgia tinging the January chill, especial-
ly among those protesting Nixon, the war, apathy, and Ameri-
ca, 1973, a nostalgia for the days when thousands would des-
cend on the Capital, in tribal festivities of brotherhood and
Our reporters ranged across a gamut of experiences during
their weekend in Washington. Their record of What happened
during those days reflects the human side of the great event,
a personal reality not reflected on the television screen.

Daily Photos by KAREN KASMAUSK
Protesters wait at the Lincoln M emorial- nohelp from Abe

With all the grace of stoned ante-
lopes, they darted up to the truck and
quickly succeeded in removing the
venerated rodent.
The crowd went wild.
The Rat, its honor restored, moved
off down Massachusetts Avenue es-
corted by a revitalized contingent of
But the inevitable happened. Kiel-
biewicz' cycle gang, now heavily sup-
plemented by the Civil Disobedience
Unit, utilized a clear technological ad-
vantage and overtook the rabble, gun-
ning their engines and swiftly sending
even the bravest of the Rat Pack scur-
rying for the sewers, as it were.
As the men in blue began stripping
the rodent's papier-mache skin, one
cop declared, "This one will go down
as the War of the Rat, and goddamn
it, we won."
In the street, a youthful Yippie
cried. A reporter snickered.
NO MORE than five blocks away,
Adolph Nixswine, or whatever his
name is, was taking the oath of office.
Dan Biddle is a copy editor for The Daily.

Living it
Managing Editor
A S I DROVE my economy - sized
Chevy towards Washington's his-
toric Pension Bldg., I wished-for
about the tenth time that night-that
I had a chauffeur-driven Caddy.
The press handbook had demanded
clothing that "Conforms to the dress
required of guests," and for a moment
I longed for the safety of the 'youth'
section of the five-part Inaugural Ball,
where the dress was "black tie pre-
ferred" instead of the Pension Bldg.,
where there was no "preferred" about
It got worse as I got closer. One
glance at the bejeweled and befurred
dowagers being escorted up the steps
by the tuxedo-adorned men, and my
worst fears were realized. My moth-
er's best dress, borrowed for the occa-
sion, would never make it in Repub-
lican high society.
I clutched my press card, hung
around my neck as my only jewelry,
and nosed my car through the heavy
inaugural traffic.


ing. I killed the radio, turned the cor-
ner, and was confronted by some three
hundred youths, shivering in the cold
across the street from the Pension
Bldg. They were holding candles shel-
tered in wax cups; and they were sing-
ing, softly, "Kumbaya."
They gave my evening clothes curi-
ous glances as I headed, not for the
main entrance, but for Them, the Oth-
er Side.
Under the strains of "All We Are
Saying, is Give Peace a Chance," I was
told that this was an interfaith serv-
ice, and that they intended to stay all
night. "We've just been standing here,
singing to the guests, to try to. make
them consider what they're doing for a
moment, between martinis," comment-
ed one senior from Columbia Univer-
sity, teeth chattering.
"Yeah," added another. "Tell them
the real celebration of life is out here."
INSIDE, THE celebration went dog-
gedly on, in a room roughly the size of
Waterman Gym, and the density of

Demonstrating in D.C. to bring peace

FOR SOME, Washington represents
the heart of America. For others,
it is the source of all American evil.
And proponents of both sides were in
that city last Saturday.
But for me the District of Columbia
is something else; it is my home. Born
only seven blocks from the White
House, I have found the Capitol and
the Lincoln Memorial just one more
place to show to my relatives whenever
any of them come to town. The De-
partment of Commerce is simply my
place of summer employment for the
past two years.
And so it was not to an alien area,
but rather home I was chugging along
to last Friday.
THE NEXT DAY we boarded a bus
from the Washington suburbs for the
trip downtown. Soon a dashingly dress-
ed young man got on, nattily attired in
what appeared to be an Australian Ar-
my Ranger uniform. Sitting right be-
hind us he started telling his friend
all about his plans for the demo:
"None of this peaceful march stuff
for me man, I'm going up to Union Sta-
tion where the action is (SDS). After-
wards we're going to start causing some
trouble. And we're gonna' break into
the inaugural march line and 'borrow'
some of their instruments. This is real-
ly gonna' be out of sight."
"Whoopppeee," I mumbled sarcasti-
At the Lincoln Memorial I am sur-
prised to find that, contrary to expec-
tations, somebody other than Abraham
Lincoln is in attendance. The crowd is
large and rapidly growing. Wandering
around we immediately run into sever-
al Ann Arbor cohorts.

for peace was not going to help. Their
war is being fought a hundred years
FINALLY WE trot on down to the
march line itself. It is a very regiment-
ed march with some 24 different cate-
gories of marchers from the death
marchers to the individual party blocs
and regional groups. Ann Arbor is lo-
cated in the Midwest division, or R as
the sign informs us. In front of us, a
huge sign from South Carolina. Behind
us, a banner from Kalamazoo. Not
wanting to be outdone we scrounged
up eight large signs and put A-N-N
A-R-B-O-R on them. We had, you
might say, arrived.
Unfortunately, we seemed to have a
long turnaround time. At first we did-
n't seem to mind. The eight of us in
the card section were busy choreogra-
phing to various songs played on our
Kazoos while others would lustily cheer
whenever the sun honored us with its
presence. Ann Arbor Mayor Robert
Harris, for one, did not seem to be
pleased with our antics but somehow
it was hard at that point to feel any
guilt. He wasn't bringing the war to a
close any faster than I was.
But after two hours of waiting for
the march to begin the natives began
to get restless. First a nasal-voiced bore
got on the megaphone to bombard us
with some incredibly repetitious bull.
Then the assembled starting chanting
"Move out, Move out!" Finally, more in
relief than in joy, we started to move.
The march itself was something of a
disappointment. It only took us some
20 minutes to go the short mile on Con-
stitution Ave. to the Washington Mon-
ument grounds (four days later the
body of Lyndon Johnson was to be
horn P 1ri nn 1-i-a P vv~f

"Hey Ann Arbor, right on. So you got
marijuana legalized."
ALL OF THIS was okay but things
started slipping perceptibly when up in
front I heard the faint cry, "Give
whatever you can, it costs bread to put
on a demonstration and we need it
from you." That was bad enough but
the American efficiency of the opera-
tion really turned me off. Stretched
across the entire line of march were
two rows of eight barrels each. And
next to each barrel was a hawker mak-
ing his spiel.Jt was like registration in
Waterman. Line 'em up and pass 'em
After generously contributing noth-
ing we continued down the street past
the speakers stand and on away from
the counter-inaugural and towards the
real thing. It seems like nobody told us
to turn in so we just-kept going. Or at
least until "Washington's Finest" start-
ed to get worried and, without any
warning, charged into us on -their mo-
torcycles. It wasn't a particularly pret-
ty sight but neither side wanted
trouble. That wouldn't bring peace ei-
Tromping back up to the rally area,
we were immediately greeted by the
speeches. But no matter who was
speaking the reaction was one of un-
relieved tedium so off we went up to
the inaugural parade route itself in
search of some entertainment.
It didn't take long to find it as ap-
parently a number of the more radical
marchers had set off together and been
met by a phalanx of police, billy clubs
ready to do battle. As usual the young-
er generation was hurling abuse at the
men in blue and as usual the men in
blue just stood there.

world. And instead of having the thrill
of a lifetime they were scared.
Some looked as if they were afraid
of being raped by a mad hippie freak
and some, just cried. But neither the
chants of the protestors nor the tears
of the girls from Podunk were going to
bring peace to the world.
The next day it was back downtown
again to pick up some friends along
the Potomac. The city is dead on a Sun-
day morning and that is when it is at .
its nicest. Nothing moves, it just sits
there like ancient Athens. No people,
no television cameras, no sound. For
a brief moment it turns into the sleepy
southern town it once was.

that same place in the height of reg-
The clothes were incredible-shoe's
on some people would buy and sell my
stereo, and I knew it. Obviously, this
was The Event of the Second Nixon
Administration, and the faithful had
given their getups all they'd got.
Still, the'jewels and heavy brocades
seemed strangely out of place in a
building where men in black ties tram-
pled women in dark silk to fight their
way to bars with signs announcing
four drinks for $6.
The only freebies were hardbacked
Inaugural books with too-living-color
pictures of King Richard and his near-
est and dearest, plus little silver
charms that could be saved forever, in
the cufflink boxes of those attending.
THE CELEBRANTS walked, talked,
dressed and acted exactly like What
one would expect of the higher-ups of
the Nixon regime. They were people
who'd paid anywhere from $40 for ball
tickets to $1,000 for an eight-person
"box" near the dance floor or on the
balcony; and they were bound to make
the most of it, in a stiff, Republican
"She said she didn't want to spend,
the money on the frills, dress and so
on, but I think she didn't get an invi-
tation!" one luxuriously-garbed grand
dame stage-whispered to another.
I shuddered.
Our hosts for the evening included a
half-dozen such luminaries as agricul-
ture Sec. Earl Butz, George Romney
and Melvin Laird, but they didn't seem
to be mingling with the commoners,
the business and Congressional mag-
nates on the floor.
Giving up on getting my exclusive
with Melvin, I started sipping scotches
(gleaned from young male journalists.
with surprising ease).
I WAS NURSING the third when
Guy Lombardo's band stopped playing
'You Are My Sunshine"' and switched
to a fanfare. The Vice President of the
United States was announced, and five
thousand people . stampeded towards
the main stage.
I didn't see much of Agnew, but I
heard him as he told the assembled
worshippers that Nixon got elected be-
cause "the - majority of Americans
would rather believe the Commander-
in-Chief than enemy propaganda."
I suddenly remembered just who this
ball was for.
Agnew left after about ten minutes,
and it was almost another hour before
Lombardo's men struck up "Hail to The
the Chief, as he joked about the first
time he'd heard Lombardo, told the
crowd that they were part of a 30,000
person group-the biggest Inaugural
Ball "we've ever known in Washing-
ton," and danced one quick one with
I saw Tricia, too. She looks just like
her pictures.
But all good things must end, and
after Nixon left, the ball reverted to
Waterman Gym. Guy Lombardo played
"Harper Valley PTA," and "When the


THE CITY, at least, is

at peace with

William Alterman is an associate sports
editor for The Daily.

-- . M


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