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Member since: Wed Aug 13, 2003, 08:17 PM
Number of posts: 9,893

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When I think of it, I get dizzy and nauseous.

I turned 13 that summer, but my friends all made fun of me because I watched the news and read the newspaper every day. We got quizzes from the newspaper in school every week. I didn't bother to study, because I knew all the answers. My friends memorized the answers (a, d, c, etc.) from the paper, but when the teacher mixed up the collection, everyone in the class failed but me. I also read Time, Newsweek and US Snooze and World Report every week, but a week late because my parents got them from my uncle.

For me, 1968 really started in the summer of 1967 with the Detroit riots. I'm from a small town in Michigan, but every city in that state with a black population rioted that week. That Sunday evening, I watched a line of thunderstorms come in off Lake Michigan cutting the lower peninsula in two--the north with no cities and no riots, and the south, being burned. At 9:00, the Smothers Brothers came on, much to my parents' chagrin. They let me watch sometimes, but ignored the TV until we started getting emergency bulletins directing all national guard troops and state police officers to report to their posts immediately. They kept coming every five minutes, and parents started to get nervous. We normally went to bed at ten, but we all stayed up for the 11:00 news because obviously something bad was happening. At 11, our northern Michigan station showed some rioting, and that was all that was on all week during the news. It looked really bad. The Dad of one of my friends was a state trooper and got called down. I got a very santized version from her, but that was bad enough. We did our back-to-school shopping in the small city 40 miles to the south, but that city saw very bad rioting that went on for 3 weeks at least. The shopping area was completely closed off. Finally, two weeks before school, the local police opened up an area in the southern outskirts with a JC Penney and a Meijers (local Wal-Mart-Target-ish thing) just so kids and parents could get clothing and supplies. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be in the riot-torn area. I just can't.

I remember that the war just kept going like it would never end. I remember looking up the population of Vietnam in the World Book Encyclopedia that we had a home, and judging that by Gen. Westmoreland's body count numbers, we'd killed just about every military aged male in Vietnam. Then I put up an LBJ dartboard in my school locker. Then the assassination of Dr. King with more riots, waking up to a dead RFK, more war. It just never stopped.

For me, though, it was the '68 Democratic Convention. I had an aunt and uncle in the Chicago area who LOVED Mayor Daly. That's Hizzoner, the First Mayor Daly. I watched that convention all the time, and my parents let me stay up late again. The baby blue helmets, the kids, only a couple years older than me, getting heads bashed in in the parks that I had visited during many summer trips. The mules in downtown Chicago, and my aunt calling and crowing about how wonderful Mayor Daly was. I thought that she had lost her mind.

Then the police rioted on the floor of the convention! They were breaking the heads of the delegates! The delegates! And there was Mayor Daly egging them on. It was so wild that I can't remember who it was who kissed the TV screen showing some sort of riot, maybe Daly, maybe HHH.

I was so burned out after that. I couldn't even feel the horror of Nixon getting elected in November. I was just numb. Just numb. I loved my aunt and uncle, but it took time before I could look at them and not see Mayor Daly's screaming face.

During the time of the 2008 election, I had a Turkish roommate. She was terrified with the raucous election. She asked me if the country was going to fall apart and civil war break out. I told her that 2008 was nothing compared to 1968, and related a bit about that. She was dumbfounded that we'd survived. I told her not to worry until there were deadly fights on the floor of Congress and aggrieved citizens had broken into the armories and stolen military equipment. Frankly, those were about the only things that didn't happen in 1968. And I hope that they don't happen anytime soon, either.

I don't like the way the words "hate" and "haters" are used in our current political

discourse to drive people into an absolute emotional frenzy. This negative emotional frenzy only feeds upon itself. Once you say that a person who disagrees with you hates you, or that a person whose viewpoint is different from yours is a hater, you hammer an iron wedge between you and that person that is almost impossible to withdraw. Is that what DU wants? Is that what the President wants? Is that the best thing for this country?

I don't care who is using it--Dem, Rep, Libertarian, Naderite--or what position he or she has. And yes, this means the President. Especially the President.

There hasn't been this much discord in the country since the late '60s, but even then, our political leaders, even Nixon, did not publicly refer to political and policy disagreements as "hate" and those who did not agree with them as "haters," even if that's what they were. Because words count.

Words count, Mr. President. Words count, DU. Words count, Sen. Cruz. Words count, Rep. King.

Yes, those that disagree with us, our political opponents, use crude words, and yes, some are racist, but mostly they are people who see things differently, and unless we have another civil war, we have to live in the same country. Why should we, with our choice of words, do more to tear this country apart? Why should we be as uncivil as some of our opponents?

Tomorrow night, CNN will re-air the episode of its documentary, "The Sixties," devoted solely to the year 1968. A few DUers, like me, are old enough to remember at least some things about that horrible year. For those who are too young to remember, both the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy gave their lives for their causes in that year.

Does anyone here really think that either of those two great men would cheer the divisive language of our current political discourse, particularly in a speech made by our wonderful President?

I think not.

Wake up, people, before you tear your own hearts apart with your hate for your fellow misguided citizens.

The Europeans may have to make at least some economic

sacrifices with respect to Russia, we may be in their situation with respect to China and our treaty allies in east Asia.

There are increasing territorial dispute between Japan and China over control of some small islands and air and maritime rights in the East China Sea. There have been no shots fired, but a small miscue on the part of either party could change that in an instant. We are obligated by treaty to defend Japan, and Japan has asked for assurances that we will come to their aid in the event that they are attacked by China. We've made comforting noises, but not much else.

A similar situation pertains in the South China Sea. China claims almost the entire surface area of that body of water except for 12 mile boundaries off the beaches of the other nations surrounding that sea. These include Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and our treaty ally, the Philippines. The Chinese and the Vietnamese recently engaged in some hostile, but non-shooting activity when China towed an oil drilling rig into place in waters also claimed by the Vietnamese. Vietnam, of course, wants our help against their historical enemy, China. A couple of years ago, the Vietnamese asked the US Navy to make a port call at our old Navy base, Da Nang. We obliged them, and sent a carrier and smaller ships. We entertained the local Vietnamese dignitaries on the carrier. They loved the take off and land show, apparently. Closure of the South China Sea would cut off our increasing imports from Vietnam and other places. Check the labels on any garments that you have purchased recently--more and more are coming from SE Asia.

Everyone here understands just how dependent we are on China for every conceivable type of manufactured product. Our dependency is not unlike that of the Europeans' dependence on Russian oil and gas and investment opportunities.

If fighting breaks out in the East or South China Seas, the container ship pipeline between us and China will not be able to sail in a combat zone. Indeed, commercial ship traffic in and out of East Asia would be severely hampered by any shooting on the part of any nation. Walmart will not be the only store with few items on the shelves.

How willing will we be to defend our treaty allies Japan, South Korea and the Philippines as well as other friendly countries if it cuts off our supplies of iPhones and auto parts?

Russia is doing what its somewhat paranoid (IMHO) leader wants to do and the Europeans are essentially cowering.

But if China flexes its muscles, what will we do and are we willing to make some preparations now?

Current Israeli/Palestinian/Lebanese conflict escalation

Things seem to be getting extremely hot in LBN. At what point may posts concerning the most recent escalation of the continuing conflict be returned to the I/P forum?

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