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Rally Against Selective Service

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An older protester holds a sign as he sits with others on the steps of the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, awaiting the start of a rally against the Military Selective Service Act. In a fairly obvious political maneuver, President Jimmy Carter re-established selective service registration in the months leading up to his re-election battle with Ronald Reagan. I was a young Socialist just out of high school and about to start working toward my photojournalism degree at KU. I remember being struck by how truly weakened the left had become by 1980. I think this photo captures that mood. The old man with his sign displaying a rather ambiguous message, sits amid a group of younger and more diverse people who look like they've gathered for some reason for which even they are unaware. Within two short years, many of these people would find their groove, emboldened by their struggles against the right-wing policies of the Reagan administration. But in 1980, it was a terrible time being a leftist.

Photographed with a Pentax MX and an SMC Pentax-M 28mm lens.