Wednesday, May 6, 2015

...when I picked it up and said hello, this foot came through the line

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


May 6

...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.  Then they watched the political tide begin to rise against the war.  They flocked behind Eugene McCarthy and RFK in 1968.

They saw Johnson forced to curtail the bombing of North Vietnam, to start negotiations in Paris and to withdraw from the presidential contest.  Then they saw RFK murdered, McCarthy and McGovern defeated in Chicago, the police rioting against the protesters.

Still, the administration which had escalated the war was beaten, and a new administration, pledged to end the war, was in office. 

Now, fifteen months later, the new administration has not only continued the Johnson policy but has actually widened the war -- and it has done so against the opposition of

probably half the Senate,

nearly all the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,

most of the great newspapers

and most of the young. 

It is little wonder that the young are highly skeptical about the efficacy of the democratic process.  What do we tell them now?  To wait until 1973, by which time God knows how many Americans and Vietnamese, now alive, will be dead?  And in the meantime what can be done?

On Tuesday night we went to Muriel Murphy's for dinner.  Present were the Robert Penn Warrens,

the Ralph Ellisons,

the Holly Whytes and Willie Morris.  Ralph, who did most of the talking, was emotional and incomprehensible.  He seems to be the last hawk and very defensive/aggressive about his Vietnam record.  At one point he said, "We never go out anymore.  We never see people.  It seems to be impossible to exchange ideas anymore." ...

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


No comments:

Post a Comment