1968, for instance. It was a terrible year. I was there. There were riots, and assassinations, and a whole lot of young men who’d been drafted died in Vietnam. Then came the crisis election and we got Nixon.
Beginning in 1968, politics turned slowly to the right and continued to march that way until the vast majority of those alive in 1968 were dead.
Then came 2020. It was a terrible year. I was there. There were demonstrations, and environmental destruction. A whole lot of people died of COVID. Then came a crisis election and we got Biden.
Democrats aren’t willing to call what happened last year a decisive turning point. I know a lot of Republicans felt the same way in 1969. But it was. The Silent Majority gradually took control of our politics, and the response by liberals was instructive.
The Left began taking over the culture in 1969. Even executives started growing their hair longer, wearing wider ties and facial hair. Music became political. It remains so. Conservatives felt under siege.
But leftist political movements began to atomize, and some turned to violence helping no one. We had the beginnings of the environmental movement, the women’s rights movement, the black power movement, the gay rights movement, and so much more. But none of these movements gained political traction. They seemed opposed to one another. By the time the Democrats next met in convention, in 1972, the divisions had become so intense the party had no chance. About the only Democrat able to break through that year rode youth and centrism to an upset over a Republican who didn’t seem to care. The Democrat was Joe Biden.
The point is that, like Republicans in 1969, Democrats today feel beleaguered, forced to unite to gain any foothold on power. We’re angry about the compromisers, we’re fearful about the future. We don’t see success ahead because we’ve been taught by a generation of failure not to expect it. The media assumes everything will move toward the other side because, in their living memory, that’s how it’s always been.
What began in 1969 doesn’t seem to have reversed, but it has. What follows will be a long, slow slog, driven by the needs of technology, this new medium of the Internet, and the ripening of issues that were only nascent back when I was a kid.
Dan Rather could conclude this better than I can.