The years from Lyndon Johnson’s expansion of the War in Vietnam up to, and including the pardon of Richard Nixon by Gerald Ford, seems to me to be the only other time I recall when the degree of extremely intense division and distrust among Americans was like it is in our time! Charlottesville, the violence, the debate over whether only one side of the violence should be condemned, and the hatred of the press against anyone who doesn’t submit to the Leftwing interpretations, is all a reminder for me.
There were citizens who supported the War in Vietnam while they opposed President Johnson’s domestic agenda. There were citizens who loved Johnson’s domestic agenda, yet were strongly opposed to the War in Vietnam. And there were citizens who opposed both. So it goes. In the streets there were marches. (I even remember my high school in Kansas allowing a day for those who wanted to protest the war to participate!) Folk music and artists singing anti-war melodies were the craze of the day.
I didn’t have a mature grasp of politics at that time, but the arguments against the War in Vietnam seemed to me to be more logical than the arguments in its favor (especially since we wouldn’t let the military win). But, I never joined in any protest marches, because the attitude of many organizers was to treat American soldiers like the enemy, and that was repulsive to me. Protesting the government is a normal American free expression, but it crossed a line when protesters called names to our heroes in uniform.
There seems to have been a radical cycle repeated with different players. The police have been treated during the last three or four years like the military were in the 1960s and 1970s. Divisions and distrust include a larger range of hot-button issues. If you disagree with the Left on any issue, you’re anywhere from a “Nazi” to a racist, to a homophobe, or some other epithet. Sadly, too many conservatives feel compelled to respond in kind. The President and the Press Corps exchange similar raging barbs.
It is my hope and belief that the Lord will revive the sense of “one nation under God” where we can, at a minimum, have rational debates. I am optimistic because the trends of fierce cultural division have been there, and yet we have risen above it.
The 2016 Election was very, very, very divisive and different from any political season in my adult life! The bitterness for many of those whose side lost the national campaign is just as pronounced now as it was in the immediate shock of a victory that the overwhelming majority of pundits said was impossible. I was a citizen who has no presidential candidate that I regarded as worthy of support who, since the election, has become convinced that our President is trying his best against elitist Establishment bipartisan odds. The renewal of goodwill and honest but civil communication is possible, in my view, but it cannot happen without prayer. That’s my opinion, anyway.
Paul Richard Strange Sr., Waxahachie