Then I got wise. Note that I said “wise”. I am not claiming to be smarter than any of my readers.
Those that have known me since 1980 will be stunned by the news that at one time I was a Democrat. How did it start?
When I was a teenager in high school, the president was Richard Nixon. Our country was divided over our involvement in Vietnam and public opinion was that we made a mistake getting involved. Richard Nixon escalated America’s involvement in a war that people started to believe we could not win. Nixon had campaigned to end the war but lied and brought back the first draft lottery since World War II. He invaded Cambodia which was called the “Cambodian Incursion.” I guess that’s a nice way of saying he got another country involved in this damned war.
Demonstrations erupted at campuses across the country. At Kent State University in Ohio, the National Guard shot at unarmed college students. They killed four and wounded nine others, one who became permanently paralyzed.
I am sure you’ve seen the famous photo. PLEASE watch the video in its entirety.
It was (and still is) quite impressionable. The girl in the picture was only 14 at the time and I was turning 13. The government called it The Kent State Shootings, when it was actually The Kent State Massacre. Shortly after the shootings took place, the Urban Institute conducted a national study that concluded the Kent State shooting was the single factor causing the only nationwide student strike in U.S. history; over 4 million students protested and over 900 American colleges and universities closed during the student strikes. The Kent State campus remained closed for six weeks.
The Nixon Administration was callous and indifferent calling anti-war protesters “bums” and “pawns of foreign communists.”
Have you got another minute and a half to spare? Listen to the flip side (when we had albums) of “Ohio”. Not the original but it’s short and sweet and has David Gilmour (yes!). This was a time when lyrics meant something.
As a teenager, you don’t have much but you do have music. Nixon was trying to take some of my music away by having John Lennon deported. Why? Because he feared Lennon’s anti-war activities may cost him being re-elected. You mess with Lennon and you’re losing the youth vote. At least, he lost mine.
So, not even bringing up the Watergate issue, I had my reasons for following the Democratic Party.
My next blog will tell you why I have been a registered Republican although I am truly Independent – just like George Washington.