Moving Forward From 1968...

“…1968, the year that broke open the nation and shattered the Democratic Party; the year that conservative populism replaced progressive populism as the dominant political force in our nation; the year that law and order and strength became associated with chaos, weakness, and out-of-touch, self-indulgent elites; the year that led to Nixon, then Reagan, then Gingrich, then George W. Bush. The middle-class backlash would shape and distort American politics for the rest of the century. The new conservatism would be shaken by Watergate, but not destroyed. Its public support would be weakened, as right-wing ideologues promoted economic inequality, environmental destruction, and social division, but not destroyed. When threatened by its own excesses, the conservative movement would promise to be ‘kinder and gentler’ or more ‘compassionate,’ all the while ripping the hide off Democrats for alleged weakness of values, character, and will. And it would be enough to provoke the painfully predictable, almost Pavlovian reaction among enough white middle-class voters to carry the day. Of course it was more complicated that that. Sometimes conservatives’ criticisms of the Democrats had validity, and there were always moderate Republicans and conservative of goodwill who worked with Democrats to make positive changes.

Nevertheless, the deeply embedded nightmares of 1968 formed the arena in which I and all other progressive politicians had to struggle over our entire careers. Perhaps if Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy had lived, things would have been different. Perhaps if Humphrey had used the information about Nixon’s interference with the Paris peace talks, things would have been different. Perhaps not. Regardless, those of us who believed that the good in the 1960s outweighed the bad would fight on, still fired by the heroes and dreams of our youth.”

Bill Clinton
My Life (pp. 144-145)

1 comment:

lobas said...


whats a bummer