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Old 05-18-2010, 04:53 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Heartland Conservative
Posts: 4,933
Default Re: Oh, forget that whole "I served in Vietnam" bit

Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Despite what he claims, societal pressure was the opposite: "peaceniks" and "hippies" were the ones who were victims of gratuitous assaults by pro-war thugs, especially in rural areas of the country and especially in the early years of draft resistance. As always, during Vietnam Americans tended to glorify war and idol-worship its survivors.
Rick Perlstein, on the public response to the Kent State Massacre:

A respected lawyer told an Akron paper, “Frankly, if I’d been faced with the same situation and had a submachine gun . . . there probably would have been 140 of them dead.” People expressed disappointment that the rabble-rousing professors—the gurus—had escaped: “The only mistake they made was not to shoot all the students and then start in on the faculty.”

When it was established that none of the four victims were guardsmen, citizens greeted each other by flashing four fingers in the air (“The score is four / And next time more”). The Kent paper printed pages of letters for weeks, a community purgation: “Hurray! I shout for God and Country, recourse to justice under law, fifes, drums, marshal music, parades, ice cream cones—America—support it or leave it.” “Why do they allow these so-called educated punks, who apparently know only how to spell four-lettered words, to run loose on our campuses tearing down and destroying that which good men spent years building up? ...

Signed by one who was taught that ‘to educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.’” “I extend appreciation and whole-hearted support of the Guard of every state for their fine efforts in protecting citizens like me and our property.” “When is the long-suffering silent majority going to rise up?”

It was the advance guard of a national mood. A Gallup poll found 58 percent blamed the Kent students for their own deaths. Only 11 percent blamed the National Guard.

A rumor spread in Kent that Jeff Miller, whose head was blown off, was such a dirty hippie that they had to keep the ambulance door open on the way to the hospital for the smell. Another rumor was that five hundred Black Panthers were on their way from elsewhere in Ohio to lead a real riot; and that Allison Krause was “the campus whore” and found with hand grenades on her.

Many recalled the State of Ohio’s original intention for the land upon which Kent State was built: a lunatic asylum. President White was flooded with letters saying it was his fault for letting Jerry Rubin speak on campus. Students started talking about the “Easy Rider syndrome,” after the Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda movie about hippies murdered by vigilantes. Townspeople picketed memorial services. “The Kent State Four!” they chanted. “Should have studied more!”

“Anyone who appears on the streets of a city like Kent with long hair, dirty clothes, or barefooted deserves to be shot,” a Kent resident told a researcher.

“Have I your permission to quote that?”

“You sure do. It would have been better if the Guard had shot the whole lot of them that morning.”

“But you had three sons there.”

“If they didn’t do what the Guards told them, they should have been mowed down.”

A letter to Life later that summer read, “It was a valuable object lesson to homegrown advocates of anarchy and revolution, regardless of age.”

Time had called the Silent Majority “not so much shrill as perplexed,” possessed of “a civics-book sense of decency.” Pity poor Time, whose America was but a memory.

Copyright © 2008 by Rick Perlstein.
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