Anyone in my generation had to be reminded of the Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago when they saw the footage from the cancelled Trump rally a few days back. The two are somewhat analogous, especially for the amount of intolerance and hatred being expressed. When I saw footage of a Trump supporter leaving and giving the finger to a black protester and screaming “F-you N! Go back to Africa! I can recall seeing Mayor Daley screaming at Sen. Ribicoff “F-you you Jew Son of a B!” when the Senator denounced the violent tactics of the Chicago police.
Not that the protesters were peaceful and tolerant in 1968, or 2016. Both sides were itching for a fight and I am sure both sides believed they had the moral high ground. Watching protesters mocking Trump supporters and challenging them to fight also evoked a memory of 1968: Jerry Rubin encouraging protesters to fight the police. By resorting to intolerance, the protesters became what they protested, and the Trump supporters … well they pretty much represent the antithesis of what they claim to be: the “moral majority.”
I am part of the real moral majority – the majority of Americans who refuse to support the xenophobia, misogyny, and nationalist jingoism of Trump, and who also refuse to support the intolerance and tactics of those anti-Trump supporters. When Robert Kennedy was running for President he set the standard for what a true, moral force a politician can be in times of turmoil. One only has to see the film of his speech in Indianapolis after the King assassination to become both inspired by the example, and despondent over the present reality of presidential contenders.
One can only wonder what will happen in Chicago during the Republican Convention this summer. In 1968 the convention was in turmoil between the “establishment” support of the war and the insurgency of anti-war faction (those who had not been assassinated). The streets were full of violent protesters – angry and alienated by the “system.” Sound familiar?