Monday, October 25, 2021

Interesting Responses

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. 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.

Dr. King was killed for battling racism.  Today, we have cowards threatening school board members (threats that are terrible, but will they act on them?  Not all that likely.)  RFK was killed because of the situation in Palestine at the time (though oddly, what wasn't widely publicized after his death).  And the '60's gave way to the political violence of the '70's, which has disappeared down the national memory hole except as it is remembered for it's apotheosis, Patty Hearst and the SLA; and as one of the subplots in "Network."  The one nobody remembers from that movie.
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).

"Splintered media" was not allowed.  Was that better?  Or worse?
My memories, too. Although I have to say: welcome to adulthood in the real world. Same as it ever was. 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: Nobody seriously questioned why the National Guard at Kent State were using live rounds; nor why the only students shot or killed were not engaged in the protest the Guard was there to suppress. No member of the Guard was held responsible. The students on campus that day were deemed responsible for getting in the way of the bullets. No, I'm not making that up. Of course, this was 1970, but it was the bitter end of the '60's activism/protests.

So, no, we weren't more "bitterly divided."  We just knew who counted, and who didn't; and we acted accordingly.  And as the pictures from Kent State make clear, it had very little to do with race, and a great deal to do with whether society condoned your public actions; or not.  Now we do it according to race; mostly.

Is that better, or worse, now?

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