Hollywood High

We lined up on Hollywood Blvd. 
To see Eisenhower’s motorcade pass by.
We were 10th graders in gym shorts and white camp shirts: 
This moment was embarrassing and exciting … 
But mostly mindless.

Later that year: Gerald L.K. Smith, a demagogue, came to speak:
An evening event at Hollywood High School’s auditorium.  
I was one of four brash girls
Who knew Smith’s words were antisemitic, deceptive and full of hate.
We stood in the back, heckled and stomped our feet in protest.

Next day I proudly told my anti-fascist father what we had done.
To my amazement he was outraged at our behavior.
“Free speech has to carry the day:
 Don’t try to drown out the words of a bad man.
 Let him speak and hang himself!” ❏

Eleanor Rubin is an artist and author of Eleanor Rubin: Dreams of Repair, with foreword by Howard Zinn.


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