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The Shirt is Real

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Kelly Kleiman's review of The Khe Sanh Bagman [December 8] refers to an "apocryphal" Chicago police T-shirt from the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that states, "I kicked your father's ass in 1968 and I can kick yours too." There is nothing "apocryphal" about that T-shirt. I own two of them, and occasionally sleep in them. One was bought for me by a student who was then a Chicago police officer himself, and one was given to me by a grateful client who was one of the five demonstration leaders arrested during the convention and charged with six felonies, for which they were later acquitted, without anybody being jailed for contempt of court. I didn't perceive the T-shirt as a sign of any ferociously held grudge.

Aside from the tactical squad and some of the brass, most of the police officers I and my clients encountered during the convention were very friendly, courteous, and professional. It was a vast improvement on 1968, for which I feel no nostalgia whatever.

I suppose I qualify as a "lakefront liberal," except that in my formative political years, "liberal" was a synonym for "wishy-washy," and I considered myself a radical. I was there in 1968. I was teargassed, for the disorderly and heinous conduct of trying to get to my train and get home from Grant Park. I have no fond memories of Daley Senior, whose idea of orderly and civil political discourse in City Council involved shutting off the mikes of his opponents. My fondness for Daley Junior arises mostly from the fact that he provides a useful example for my students of bringing success out of failure--what else can you call getting elected state's attorney and then mayor after flunking the bar exam twice? If he can do it, anybody can. America, what a country! Well, OK, I guess that's "local-joke sensibility."

Sincerely,

Marian H. Neudel (Esq.)

Chicago

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