I am a member of the Class of ’68. This sobriquet was used to identify anyone who was involved in the planning for the Columbia bust, the Chicago mobe, or the Harvard bust, except the Harvard bust took place in 1969. We were all college-age kids, some still in school, some out. We considered ourselves ‘radical,’ which basically meant that we didn’t buy the liberal rationales for remaining in Viet Nam. As for the other side, the conservatives who supported an even wide war, we didn’t listen to them at all.
Maybe there are 20 of us still around, maybe not. There were some occasional get-togethers in years past, but what’s gone is gone. The experience of the 1960’s does, however, furnish something of a perspective on what’s happening today and I’d like to share that perspective with you now.
To begin, there was a very active Black involvement in our activities, known as the Panthers, led by Huey Newton and Booby Seale. The other side often talked about the Panthers the way the alt-right talks about Antifa today. I lived in Chicago where the Panthers were led by young Freddie Hampton, whom I knew quite well. He was gunned down by the Chicago cops in 1969, having been designated a ‘radical threat’ by the FBI.
The most radical thing the Panthers ever did in Chicago was to distribute free food to Black residents on the West Side. Today we would politely refer to the West Side as an ‘underserved’ neighborhood; in 1968, nobody had a problem calling it a slum.
In 1968, we elected a President whose basic pitch was the need to restore ‘law and order’ to cities, which basically meant clamping down on all those ‘radical’ elements whose goal was to destroy the American way of life. In 2020, we are deciding whether to re-elect a President who is saying the exact, same thing. Didn’t Karl Marx say that history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce? In this case, it’s both.
What makes the farce so apparent this time around, was that in 1968 we didn’t have the internet; we didn’t have a digital media which competes for daily clicks. But if you think this meant we weren’t surrounded by conspiracy theories which President Nixon could throw out there every day to disguise his own lawlessness, you’re wrong. The civil rights movement, after all, had been fomented by a Black preacher named Martin Luther King, who happened to be a Communist stooge.
Let’s not forget, however, that the conspiracy theory which caused all the trouble was produced by a Democratic President, John Kennedy, who was aided and abetted by the ‘best and brightest’ Harvard intellectuals he could find. And the conspiracy theory this bunch developed was how the collapse of South Viet Nam would lead to the collapse of every other pro-Western government in South Asia and beyond.
I was one of the kids who organized the first Viet Nam teach-in held on a college campus in Chicago in 1967. The administration reluctantly approved the event if we would allow someone from the government to show up and make the pro-war case. Fine, we didn’t care.
We didn’t know the identity of the individual that was coming up from D.C. until he actually walked out onto the stage to inform all us kiddies about the responsible approach to Viet Nam. Know who showed up to deliver an impassioned plea for keeping a military presence so that things were done just right? None other than a first-term Senator named Ted Kennedy, later known as the ‘liberal lion’ of the Upper House.
Today we get a report about a Black man who was asphyxiated by cops in Rochester, NY while he was being subdued because he had been reported as being in an ‘agitated’ state. I happen to be very pro-cop and I’m not about to pass any judgement at all until the manner of this guy’s death is completely cleared up.
But let me just say this: As we move closer to November 3rd, and Trump hurls more invectives and lies at anti-police demonstrations, and the polls continue narrow, I can guarantee we’ll hear all kinds of hosannas about keeping things peaceful from the liberal side.
Know what? Why should we allow the alt-right to justify violence because America is threatened by the Deep State conspiracy led by Antifa, the Socialists/Communists and Joe Biden as well?
F–k them and take their f–king President with them, too.