If you are in need of a current snapshot as to what’s wrong with America, look no further than the events currently unfolding in Montgomery, Alabama. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been ordered by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to remove his Ten Commandments monument from its public site in the Alabama Judicial Building. It takes a perverted and tortured reading of the First Amendment indeed to conjure up the sick notion that displaying these ancient precepts, the fundamental basis of civilization as we know it, would somehow violate the establishment clause.
James Madison might be spinning in his grave, but this it what is wrought when atheist plaintiffs petition their atheist government. And trust me, it is not lost on the citizens of Alabama that the miserable spirit of Dishonest Abe is very much in play, as the Feds once again usurp the state officials. Arguably, during the civil rights struggles of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, such intervention might have been justified, even if the Feds mostly stayed away from Northern segregation, but this time, whose rights are being violated? Those of a few atheist hotheads?
You might ask yourself how things got this screwed up. The massive Federal power grab, of course, originated with Lincoln, and by now is so much an ingrained feature of the United States, and so accepted by so many, that we can do little more than grin and bear it. As to the empowering of the Left, the reasons are much more recent—about 100 years after the Civil War—and are all because of the Vietnam War.
The Rosenberg spy case, the revelation of the terrible deeds of Joseph Stalin, and the election of JFK, an establishment liberal in 1960, effectively put a stake through the heart of the activist/loony Left. They would be energized by the civil rights demonstrations, but after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964, there was really not much to protest. December, 1964 would see some arrests connected with Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement, but our escalation in Vietnam, starting in 1965, provided the real spark.
With little stated sense of purpose, no apparent resolve, and nothing quite as spectacular as Pearl Harbor to inflame positive public opinion, the government was clearly losing the propaganda battle, and by 1967, there was significant and growing opposition to the war.
Ironically, the enemy’s Tet offensive of January, 1968 ended in a cataclysmic defeat that should have been exploited by us. However, by March, Johnson, bowing to public opinion that seemed to be influenced by the ferocity of Tet and not the end result, began the de-escalation process. 1970 brought militarily smart, if not good PR incursions into Laos and Cambodia, along with the infamous Kent State protests. The peace talks in Paris, which had started in late 1968, were definitely affected by the enemy’s perception of the deteriorating mood on our home front, and dragged on and on.
A ceasefire was negotiated in January, 1973, and by the end of that year, there were few US troops still deployed in the region. Without US support, South Vietnamese resistance melted away, and by April 30, 1975 it was all over except for the pathetic images of US personnel, including the ambassador, being evacuated by helicopter from the roof of the embassy, along with throngs of people loyal to us trying to storm the embassy to avoid their sad fates at the hands of the new Communist government.
Although we suffered 58,000 deaths, and over 300,000 wounded, the elite media garnered great ratings with up-to-the minute combat footage. Meanwhile, even though it is indisputable (from intelligence briefings following the fall of the Soviet Union) that major antiwar demonstrations were supported by the evil empire, it somehow became quite legitimate, for the first time in American history, for an individual to not only be antiwar, but be virulently anti-American. Thus free of all former restraints, the New Left burst on the scene and gradually took over the Democratic party and the major media.
One can only speculate as to what this country might be like now, absent the criminal mishandling of the Vietnam War.