|Name||Edison "Pinky" Fisk|
Bremerton, Washington , United States
|| May 30, 1915
|Died||November 13, 2009
Dec 01, 2012 01:45am
Divorced - Married - Straight -
|Info||Candidate for U.S. Senate from Washington, 1970. |
For sheer eccentricity, small protests outside the U.S. armed forces recruiting offices in downtown Bremerton during the 1960s and 1970s are fondly remembered now by those who took part.
The protests, started during the Vietnam War by a local character in his 50s named Edison "Pinky" Fisk, usually only attracted four or five people at most.
But they were Kitsap County's first war protests, and Fisk was arrested three or four times -- once for disturbing the peace when he paraded around with a protest sign proclaiming, "The Grateful Society: Bombs, Bullets, Battleships and Bull----."
The sign was returned five years later when charges against him were dropped.
Former Vietnam War protester continues quest for understanding
Story by Julie McCormick, Sun Staff
He's given up his earlier conviction that things can change soon
Edison "Pinky" Fisk is not your usual aging long-haired hippiepinkofreak.
For one thing, he's 86, and didn't become a war protester until he was about 50. For another, he never was a pinko fellow traveler of the Marxist/Leninist/Maoist variety during his career as a one-man Vietnam War protest. His family gave the nickname to him because as a youngster he had pink-red hair and a bright pink complexion.
And third, while he got along with the hippies he met during his anti-war activist years, the ones he knew weren't into what he was into.
"I wanted to talk about real things. They wanted to talk about pot and gettin' some sex in the back room," says Fisk, who does not mince words.
For several years, from about 1965 on, Fisk regularly and doggedly marched with a war protest sign across the street from the shipyard. He started out joining three young people; they fell away, and he remained. Sometimes others joined. He can't or won't say exactly why he was that kind of a stubborn loner, although it's clear he enjoys afflicting the comfortable.
"I wasn't completely a loner, but I never could get much of a group," he says.
When he couldn't get enough signatures to qualify as an independent candidate against former U.S. Sen. Henry Jackson, Fisk joined the counterculture Buffalo Party. "We held our convention at a rock festival up on Mount Rainier," he says, smiling at the memory.
When there were war protests elsewhere, he went. He was arrested "three or four times," once for disturbing the peace by adding "and Bull****" at the end of the anti-war phrase "The Grateful Society: Bombs, Bullets, Battleships..." on his protest sign.
Five years later, he got his sign back when the city of Bremerton dropped the charge.
As Fisk reaches for a book in a pile near his chair, a pampered, one-eyed orange cat jumps down in disgust from his lap.
He finds it, a 1969 American Heritage Dictionary, worn from use, the spine frayed and collapsed.
A self-educated blue-collar intellectual who spent his working career as an electrician, sometimes on federal government projects in Kitsap County, Fisk cherishes the dictionary because it was purchased as a way to beat the city in court.
It was former Bremerton Sun editor Gene Gisley who told him to buy it, Fisk says, because it contains the word "bull****," likely to help sway any judge hearing his case.
Fisk's love affair with learning started when he joined the Unitarian Church, he says, which attracted him with discussion groups and seminars in Seabeck.
But it was his anti-war activities that got him kicked out of the trailer he lived in on church property.
"Half of them worked in the shipyard," he says. "I learned enough at Seabeck to emancipate myself from the Unitarians."
Fisk doesn't mind recounting his life during the anti-war years and he's proud of the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of letters he has written to the paper over the years. But the past is not of high interest, even his own.
No longer so nimble of body, his mind continues the quest for understanding as avidly as those a quarter his age, in love with new ideas.
He has given up his earlier conviction that things can change soon, and rhapsodizes now over the proposals of economist Robert Heilbroner in the 1995 book "Vision of the Future."
It doesn't matter to Fisk that Heilbroner's future, which contains the potential for a resolution of today's myriad of problems, won't happen in his lifetime.
"I just have a gross curiosity about what it's all about," he says. "I think it would be a hell of a good idea to think about it even if we can't do it now, so we have some sort of plan of something to do except shoot each other."