I hope you'll forgive my sluggardly posting of late. The fact is that I've been greedily absorbing almost every bit of the daily news. Political developments, the war in Iraq, the indictment of Enron's Ken Lay, they're all in the system, you could say.
Processing, grinding, stewing.... there's tons in there to type, I assure you.
Even though what's in the news is a virtual embarassment of riches, I'm finding myself a bit stand-offish to the fray, a detached observer if you will.
It's not hard for me to put my finger on what's got me in this state of mind. In fact, if you want to read one of the best discussion threads I've read in the past few days, just go spend an hour with Citizen Smash, and you'll perhaps have an insight as to my thoughts.
Frankly, I'm on guard here. Deep, deep down in my gut, I have a sense of being on the precipice, of teetering on the tightrope of national sanity, or the loss thereof.
But her take on the subject far exceeds a mere address on the civility of blogs and their commenters. And she hits the nerve that's been bothering me like a 22 oz. Estwing framing hammer driving a 6d nail into a 2x4.
I've been voting since 1980. I've been paying attention since long before then. I honestly cannot remember a presidential election where the sides were so far apart that the feeling of a war between the voters - not the candidates - was in the air. Well, yes I can. We can go back to the 1968 for that. I may have only been six years old at the time, but trust me, I was fully aware. My mother reminds me that I was reading the newspaper every day from the time I could read. Not just the comics or the sports pages, but the entire paper. I asked questions, some she couldn't even answer. And, as my parents were news junkies before me, we watched the nightly news together every evening. I had cousins who were in the thick of the protests. In fact, I had to go with my aunt one evening to drag an older cousin away from a protest that was turning ugly. What I remember most about that year (I do have a memory like an elephant) was the feeling that something was wrong. It shaped how I viewed politics.
Well, I'm but a few years older than she, and I can remember my Dad, then a U.S. Navy recruiter, working in the downtown Los Angeles recruiting and induction center.
During the Watts riots.
Those sailors kept loaded Garands by their desks.
And like Michelle, I've been a news junkie all my life. Just a snippet of a war story, but when Robert Kennedy was leading the primaries, the huge majority of the kids in my elementary class were all agog over him, for reasons yet unbeknownst to them. They were smitten by his youth, looks and indeed in hindsight, his genuine charisma.
I was one of the few who supported Nixon on that playground. I understood, even then, even before my then Democrat Dad understood, that one side of the political spectrum supported our troops, while the opposing side supported every cause but a victory in Vietnam.
It wasn't until the Reagan years that my Dad finally made the change away from "the other side".
But, I digress. (I seem to do that a lot, here, don't I?)
What's bugging me is that it really is 1968 again. Oh, the riots haven't started yet. But then, neither have The Conventions.
That said, there's some striking differences which steel my heart to stand strong against the onslaught, should it come.
Unlike 1968, conservatives in our schools and universities are finding their voice.
Unlike 1968, we've seen this before. As in, back in 1968. Those of us who were there haven't forgotten, and we know what todays '68ers look like, sound like. Smell like.
They smell like rats. But that's besides the point, actually.
Unlike 1968, we finally have a strong, clear and open forum for our voices to be heard.
Right fucking here, baybee. It's called the Internet, and Al Gore can kiss my ass. But that's besides the point, really.
Unlike 1968, we have a bit of AM Talk Radio, to help counter the stranglehold of the alphabet meida on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS, et. al.
And a bit of Fox News thown in, just for good effect.
Unlike 1968, we have countless pundits, both bloggers and dead-tree media, riding herd on the likes of Moore, Dowd, Krugman and Rall.
Together, we're callling bullshit on that collectivist herd of swine, just as fast as they can spew slime to screen.
And unlike 1968, we're no longer a Silent Majority. Hear us quietly roar.
From the ballot boxes, the left will be deafened by the thunder of our vote.
You see, no matter how screwed up George W. Bush is on immigration, on education, on his misbegotten "New Tone" in Washington, there's one thing he's absolutley resolute on.
Our War on Terror.
And even in that, I find fault here and there with his choices on that front.
I probably would have bitched about Roosevelt, too. But he sure did spank some Nazi ass, didn't he? And Tojo's probably still bowing to him from Valhalla.
So, here I sit aboard ship. I'm watching, reading, listening, absorbing.
One thing I've not heard out on the wire about 1968 though.
The Hard Hats. I remember them, and remember them well.
Are we to be the Hard Hats of 1968, brought forward to a new and bloody day? Let's hope not. But like '68, there's a breaking point out there somewhere. The camel's loaded up to it's last few straws, one or two more might find the breaking point. And for all the hand-wringing back then about the big-bad construction workers beating up on the poor widdle peacefwl pwotestews, note this paragraph from the WSJ article:
Stock market activity slowed to a crawl. Brokers, analysts, investors, and office help poured out of the buildings or clustered at windows to watch. After the initial foray, the construction workers regrouped to march first down Wall Street and then up lower Broadway. As they marched, they chanted "U.S.A., All the Way." Many in the dense crowds on the sidewalks cheered. From the windows of offices lining the street came streams of ticker-tape and data processing punch cards.
Today, as in 1968, I think the reaction of the overwhelming majority would be in support of the troops, the Soverignty of the United States and the rejection the U.N. And the majority would, in spite of everything, support the modern Hard Hats, almost forty years after the originals.
And in case anyone's forgotten just how violent the left really was in those days, perhaps this will put a few things into perspective. Governor Lincoln Almond of Rhode Island was on the anti-war side of the Vietnam issue. But he was a good man and a responsible administrator. Here, from his April 1998 interview for The Whole World Was Watching an oral history of 1968.
KC/PM: The SDS
LA: The SDS? Yeah, and they were coming and they were using the black movement, and, which was not involving the blacks, and we had some good information that they were going to kidnap a Federal Judge and put him on trial, and we believed the information, so the Chief Judge gave me permission to lock the doors of the courthouse, and sure enough, they came. And they were the worst. They were the only violent group that I encountered during the entire Vietnam War. They were very, very difficult.
KC/PM: How did you confront them?
LA: Well, we locked the doors, I had marshals within the building, we had FBI agents within the building, and outside the building. And, oh, they had chains and they had everything and they were throwing things, and they were trying to break the doors. We finally had to restrain some of them physically and eventually, when they saw they weren't going to succeed. They were going to go to Judge Day's courtroom, where there was an actual trial going on, a criminal trial, and they were going to disrupt the proceedings and they were going to seize the courtroom and try Judge Day for treason, and there was no question they were going to do that. You know, it was a very, very difficult day. It lasted about half a day.
KC/PM: Was there a reason they had chosen Judge Day?
LA: No idea. It was just going to be a statement. But most of the demonstrations were on the steps of the courthouse. They were fairly peaceful, and just the heckling. The most difficult thing I had was across the street they were building the Hospital Trust Tower, so you had all the hard-hats, and the hard-hats would stop work and sit on the girders and taunt the protesters, so you always had this confrontation between the hard-hatters at the construction site and the demonstrators in the front of the. That was the most difficult one. I was always fearful about it. I used to go over and talk to those guys all the time, and say let us handle it, but I was always fearful of them charging from the Hospital Trust Tower. It did cause a lot of high emotion.
The left today is the same as it was then. The members of the S.D.S. and Weather Underground would find welcome homes with MoveOn and DemocraticUnderground.
Our Hard Hats of today are beating the Left without having to resort to using pipes wrapped in flags, crowbars or the like. Instead, they're educated, informed, articulate and bold beyond words. And the Left fears them more than they ever feared taking a beating in '68.
In 1968, the hippies loved having film-clips of their bloodied visages playing on the evening news. Such images turned sympathies to their cause, no matter how wrong they actually were.
And we're not giving them those images to play with, this time. At least, not yet. And not unless it comes to us defending ourselves, our families and homes and our Nation.
But if it comes to that, we're ready.
My God, how we are ready.
And that's what sets me back a bit, you see. For I too, am ready. And I hate, absolutely hate, finding myself in that state. But it's really very simple, you see.
Our future is either with that of the United States of America residing as a true Sovereign Nation, existing among and with other sovereignties of like heart and spirit.
Or as a subject State, of bended knee before the collective of the U.N, otherwise known as Eurpoia.
Pulling back from that brink is really, as simple as your vote in November.
Yeah, Bush pisses me off to no end, too.
But the alternative is 1968 in overdrive. And I really, really pray it doesn't come to that.
Let's first keep the Ship of State off of the rocks.
Then we'll bitch amongst ourselves about how the ship is run.