2016-11-23 / Editorials

Chaos Ahead

EDWARD HORN

Trump’s election is the return of 1960’s America. As Yoga Berra said, it’s “deja vu all over again.”

Many who lived through that turbulent, destructive decade recall the time as a harsh stain upon the nation. Racial injustice was rampant, and the Civil Rights movement fought for change. President Kennedy supported Dr. King and the NAACP’s March on Washington.

Attack dogs, batons and water hoses were set on demonstrators seeking equal rights. Governor George Wallace stood in the doorway of a “whites only” school denying black students entrance. Lynching, arson and bombing were nearly daily events. White southern juries would not find defendants guilty of even the most outrageous acts. The Black Panthers were founded to protect African- Americans.

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964 authorized expansion of America’s armed intervention in Vietnam, which resulted in increased protests across the nation. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) occupied college campuses. Thousands burnt their draft cards and recruiting offices were attacked. The January, 1968 Tet Offensive led Walter Cronkite of the CBS Evening News to comment Vietnam could not be won.

The Tet Offensive convinced demonstrators that the war was a no-win conflict forced upon the young to fight and die for no valid reason. For the first time Americans’ support for the war diminished. Authorities reacted harshly. Robert Kennedy opposed to the war declared his presidential candidacy running against Johnson, an incumbent President of his own Party. Right wing anger and rage against the anti-war protests and the Civil Rights movement increased with their advocates claiming the protestors were inspired by communist sympathizers.

President Johnson was forced not to seek re-election and the riots at the Democratic Convention in 1968 ensured the election of Richard Nixon. Prior to the Convention both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.

Nixon came to the White House with disdain and distrust of the national press. The infamous Enemies List included members of the press Nixon considered opposed to his administration. Nixon’s paranoia led to the Watergate break-in and his subsequent resignation.

The decade of the ‘60s saw thousands of Americans killed in Vietnam, many more wounded, and upon their return were scorned as “baby killers” and a US military demoralized and disrespected. A cleavage had been opened between the Republican “silent majority” and the alleged Democratic radical left. That divide has never been healed. It has different names in today’s political life.

The street protests that began against Trump the day after the election will continue. Trump’s policies will be rejected by those who gave Clinton the majority of the popular vote. Trump will never accept that protestors are exercising their rights, rather believing they are being professionally manipulated. This claim by Trump and his debasing of the media mirrors Nixon’s.

Trump has declared climate change a Chinese conspiracy. He promises to revitalize coal as a major source of power and renounce the Paris Accords. His promise to deport millions and deny rights to the DREAMERS, have Mexico pay for a wall, remove millions from medical coverage and turn away from NATO will energize protesters.

Elevating Stephen Bannon to be the policy guru of the Trump administration frightens many who understanding Brietbart anticipate reactionary policies, discrimination, incitement to hysteria, isolationism and foreign faux pas that will cost American lives. Bannon harkens back to the hatred of such groups as the America First Committee, Father Coughlin, and John Birch Society, while believing the Chinese Exclusion was justified.

With China’s expansion into the South China Sea and Chinese demands to limit US Naval transit, North Korea’s developing a missile with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching US soil, Trump’s dewy eyed appreciation of Putin increasing the fears of the Baltic countries of a Russian incursion requiring a united NATO response, war during the Trump administration is foreseeable.

Internally, Trump has legitimized hatred of fellow citizens and fear of religious differences. “Extreme vetting” is clearly another means of saying exclusion based upon fear. To those of us who lived through the 1960s Trump’s promises to Make America Great Again is nothing more than a bad dream!

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