Last night dad called and we talked. I was in the middle of watching Forrest Gump for the second time in one month when he called and had just finished the scene where Forrest and Jenny meet at the big anti-Vietnam protest in D.C. I asked him how realistic that scene was, and he said "very" and proceeded to share his experiences.
Dad went to said protests when he was a college leftist in 1967. After he transformed from a Young Republican with a crew cut to a long haired liberal with a ripped up draft card, he was one of the most radical students at his school (Albion College, a moderate-conservative Methodist liberal arts school in Michigan). He got in some trouble with his classmates for questioning the authority of the school's decisions regarding curfews for women but not men. When he went to the D.C. protests, he brought along a gas mask and carried a blackjack in his pocket to defend against the evil wills of cops and soldiers who wished to crush the resistance. He drank beer in the back of the van and smoked pot outside and brought only $10.00 for a whole weekend. He schemed and plotted how to storm the Pentagon and upon returning to Michigan wrote an extremely positive article in the school paper about the experience. After the Kent State University riot incident, he was absolutely convinced that the U.S. was going to Fascist Hell and flirted with the idea of joining the Weather Underground.
Then he married my mom, they didn't talk about politics, and now he reads Dostoevsky for fun. He still doesn't trust cops.