Interested in whether people who were politically aware adults in 1968-1969 think we are more bitterly divided now than we were then, and whether things seem bleaker now in terms of national unity.— TryingToHelpHat (@Popehat) October 25, 2021
More solidly racist, too. "Democrat" did not mean "LBJ Democrat," no matter what people think today. He was the one who gave the South away with the VRA, as he put it. He was right; both to sign it, and in what he predicted.
I was in college around then; I leave it to you if that's adult.— Steven M. Bellovin (@SteveBellovin) October 25, 2021
Anyway, it's hard to say. There were very deep divisions, but the fault lines were very different—mostly age and race, but much less geographic, religious, or even partisan. (The South was solidly Democratic then.)
LBJ resigned (refused to run again) because "government" couldn't meaningfully address divisions over Vietnam, which divisions continued (and grew worse) for 7 more years. Nixon widened the war, rather than diminish it, then had a "secret plan" which was only a ploy for re-election. Who knows what he would have done if not for Watergate.
I only study period, so don't count in data pool. But I'd say yes & no. Not more bitterly divided, as seen in political violence being much less common (though hardly unheard of) now. But *much* more politically polarized, preventing gov't from meaningfully addressing divisions.— KC Johnson (@kcjohnson9) October 25, 2021
It was pretty much media that said Vietnam was fine and college kids should shut up and get back to class. Oh, and blacks had won enough with the CRA and the VRA. And, again oddly, nobody really noticed Loving v. Virginia; not like they did Obergefell. The most radical thing the media did was when Cronkite mildly criticized the ongoing Vietnam war, which obviously was going nowhere, and he said so on camera. No, we didn't have "splintered" media: we had one voice national television media, and newspapers like WaPo which criticized Dr. King for getting out of his lane at Riverside Church (where he denounced the war, too).
“Seem” carries most of the weight. Pretty sure we were objectively in worse territory then. We just didn’t have splintered media/social media— Noman (@itnor1) October 25, 2021
My memories, too. Although I have to say: welcome to adulthood in the real world. Same as it ever was.
I was more physically scared by the times, but I was very young. I remember Dr. King’s murder, and then RFK, and I remember Viet Nam on the news every night. I was scared and shaken then, but I feel less hopeful good‘s likelihood of ultimately prevailing, now. More dejection now.— Heidi in Tacoma (@HeidiTacoma) October 25, 2021
And yet I remember people denying the failure of the war, and even denying that Nixon had good reason to resign, or Ford to pardon him (you can't pardon someone for crimes that were not committed, or at least pretty plainly evident.) To which I would also attach this:
Without a doubt. Divisions over Vietnam and civil rights were intense, but at least everyone tended to deal in facts and truth. Interpretations of facts would differ but we didn't have people denying reality— Don Campbell (@DonCamp79297417) October 25, 2021