At the 1968 Olympics, rather than show reverence for our flag and country by placing their hands over their hearts two athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, chose to raise black power salutes. Today some professional athletes take a knee rather than showing respect to our country during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. Flag burning popularized by 60s anti-war protestors and draft dodgers is a new pastime for every grievance. There is no prayer allowed in schools, but there are LGBT studies. Christianity is the religion of choice for ridicule and insults without ramification. Recently, when a group of Christian Pastors prayed for our President and laid hands on him, some in media thought this common Christian practice “very strange.” The 60s is when we began our push away from God and allegiance to our founding principles – we chose to forgo subservience to a higher moral authority and deemphasize knowledge of our history. Now some are hell bent on eradicating a defining time in our history hoping to remove the fact that there were two sides in our Civil War. We have traveled a good distance and continue to move farther away from our beginning. Have reached the proverbial fork in the road? Time will tell if we choose the right way.
In 1964, Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act called for by President John F. Kennedy. It is considered by some as the most important legislation of our time. From this time, come important lessons. One is the media’s and academia’s ability to reshape history by leaving out important facts that may not suit a preferred narrative. This was legislation called for by a Democrat President and signed into law by his successor. However, it was Southern Democratic Senators, segregationists and sons of the KKK including West Virginia’s own Senator and Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd that filibustered for 60 days. Without Republican votes, the filibuster would not have ended and the legislation would not have passed. Today you would be hard pressed to find an average citizen who knows that and if you listen to some current day politicians and activists you’d think nothing good ever came of the law except for its use as a bludgeon to paint someone or some entity as racist. Another important lesson is that if there is significant legislation Democrats and Republicans, for the good of our country, must be able to work together to get it done. Daily observations of current time tell us it’s not likely. We have become so radicalized in opposite directions that the solution most politicians want at the expense of everything else is total domination and destruction of the opposing party. Or they are so hamstrung by special interests and the perpetual need for their campaign donations that they are unable to act in the best interest of the American people. Ideology and politics getting in the way of solving problems is not new, but the chasm has grown much wider.
In 1968, much happened and that’s probably the understatement of the decade. A few months apart, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. Reverend King was killed by prison fugitive and segregationist James Earl Ray and Senator Kennedy by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. Following Reverend King’s assassination, there was rioting across the country. Some of it was in Chicago where I was living. There was property destruction and looting that certainly did not follow the King model of non violent civil disobedience. Looting however is still a popular offshoot of senseless rioting.
Copyright © 2017 J.D. Pendry