I was desperate for something to watch on TV the other night and I came across a PBS special on the life of Bob Hope and decided to give it a minute to see if it was any good. I ended up watching the entire two hours, and started thinking about how much the country has, but hasn't, changed in 50 years.
In 1968 the country was incredibly divided, just like it is today. Back then it was old versus young and black versus white. Today we are divided along party lines, Democrats versus Republicans and, also, rich versus less rich.
In 1968 the rhetoric was very angry, people weren't talking to each other they were yelling at each other. Their catch phrases were "end the war", "we shall overcome", and "make love not war". Today the rhetoric is very angry and people aren't talking to each other, they are yelling at each other. Catch phrases for this era are "Make America Great Again", "Build the Wall", and "Anyone but Trump".
In 1968 the causes were ending the war in Viet Nam and gaining civil rights for people of color. Today we are either for Trump or against Trump and either want to keep our doors open to others or shut them out.
In 1968 we didn't trust anyone over 30 and today we don't trust anyone in Washington DC. In 1968 the media was part of the establishment and today they are fake. In 1968 people marched in the street while today they protest over social media.
Many of the young Democrats in 1968, are now active Trump Republicans, while many of the Nixon Republicans from that era, have become fierce Democrats, changes nobody could have predicted back then.
In 1968 voter suppression was an important tool used by the elite to keep people of a certain background and race out of the voting booths and unable to have a voice in who represents them. Fifty-two years later, things, sadly, remain the same for many people.
In 1968 it seemed that America was on a road to certain civil war as things were boiling over all across the country. Today, much the same, as more and more things come up that make us distrust each other and fear each other.
The good news is that the country came through the strife of 1968 stronger because of all the changes. We saw incredible growth, world leadership, and social justice, all gain ground. While today things seem hopeless once again, I am confident that the American people will ultimately realize that we are stronger together than apart.
Here are some things we can do to fix our current mess.
1. Start treating each other with respect and that means we all need to do this.
2. We need to start working together for what is best for America, not ourselves.
3. We need to lower the rhetoric and volume.
4. We need to understand the difference between real news and opinions.
5. We need to regain our status as world leaders by being better.
6. We need to embrace and welcome diversity, this is what made us great to begin with.
7. We need to remember that the U.S. is a capitalist economy, not a socialist one.
8. We can all make changes by voting. Get out and have a voice.
9. Turn off the TV, phone, and computer one night a week and read a book.
10. Be nicer to each other.
I am confident that America will survive and that we will once again be a country the world will look up to for leadership and hope. I leave you with a picture and a poem to remind you of what America is all about.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"