Tuesday, May 5, 2015

a pay phone was ringing, it just about blew my mind

2 headlines:

"Police Rethink Long Tradition on Using Force"
(May 4, 2015)

"Some Republicans Rethinking Party's Traditional Stands on Crime, Policing"
(Dec. 12, 2014)

(...Interesting, Republicans seem to have been out front on this -- discussing it five months ago, pre-Walter Scott, and pre-Freddie Gray. 



---------------------- [excerpt, Schlesinger Journals] ----------------


May 6

...In the course of  breaking up an anti-Cambodia rally in Kent, Ohio, the National Guard killed four students and gravely wounded others.  I know Kent....It is the essence of an Ohio small town....

The reaction has been one of gloom and fury -- a fury derived from a sense of impotence, from the inability to get hold of the presidential process. 

Even more than the Johnsonian escalations, the Nixon Cambodian invasion reveals the anomaly in our process -- the difficulty of getting control over a President determined to embark on foreign adventures. 

This anomaly did not matter as long as the foreign [military] involvements seemed essential to the national security; but, when they do not seem essential to the national security, we have to confront a dangerous -- I trust not fatal -- weakness in our Constitution. 

The problem is compounded in this case by the political situation.  Everyone's views are shaped by his experience. 

The experience of my generation, who had the luck of FDR, Truman and JFK, convinced us that the democratic process has been an effective way of changing things. 

But from the viewpoint of the young today, who were born way after FDR and Truman and can barely remember JFK, the democratic process has been a sham and a phoney.

In 1964 they backed Johnson against Goldwater -- only to have Johnson after the election adopt the policy of military escalation he had denounced Goldwater for advocating.

-------------------------[end Schlesinger excerpt] ----------------------

Four months after Kent State, in September 1970,

the McGovern-Hatfield Amendment to end the war was introduced in the U.S. Senate. 

South Dakota Senator George McGovern presented the legislation and finished saying, "So before we vote, let us ponder the admonition of Edmund Burke, that great parliamentarian of an earlier day:  'A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood.'"

l-r, Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.); Sen. John Stennis (D-Miss.); Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.)

Heavily opposed by President Nixon, the amendment was defeated:  55 "No" votes, to 39 "Yes" votes.

The amendment did not pass -- however, thirty-nine votes against 55 is not nothing.

Looking at the vote tally for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, and comparing it to 1970's McGovern-Hatfield vote, is useful in understanding how viewpoints had shifted in 6 years....

{Journals1952 - 2000.  Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.  The Penguin Press, New York, 2007.}


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