1968 and Me
A story by: Bob Grady | Added: 2013
The year 1968 saw many horrendous events take place. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The TV showed the killing of a man by a Vietnamese Officer with a gunshot to the head of a bound prisoner. 70,000 North Vietnamese troops took part in the Tet offensive which took the battle from the jungles to the cities. The USS Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans and the crew was held captive for eleven months. Eugene McCarthy won a primary in New Hampshire but Hubert Humphrey gets the nomination to run against Richard Nixon. The Democratic Convention in Chicago led to more riots and police reaction which turned violent. The death of Martin Luther King led to major clashes all over America by Blacks righteously angered by his killing. Student sit-ins were beginning. Most were protesting the war in Vietnam and the draft, but civil rights were part of the turmoil. The sixties were definitely a time of change. The innocence of America had come to a turning point. Even Walter Cronkite, the voice of reason, came to the conclusion, after a visit to Vietnam, that we should not be there. This accelerated the distaste for that war. Then came My Lai. And Nixon defeated Humphrey and it seemed the Hawks beat the peaceniks. The protests against the war in Vietnam accelerated. The war would continue until 1973 and Nixon would resign the Presidency after the Watergate affair and the tapes of his presidency came to public attention. The electorate was beginning to see what the government was doing behind the headlines. As they became more informed, they became less innocent and a long period of mistrust has ensued to the present. Meanwhile, during this period, I was completing my education, attaining a Master's in Education and an Advanced Sixth Year Certificate in Counseling. My marriage had the usual hills and valleys of any relationship but the valleys kept getting deeper and the hills lower until it finally fell off the cliff. I was very active in the local and state teachers' associations and so, much of what was happening in the world was not my most important interest. At that time, there was not the 24/7 news channels and what I got, I learned from the nightly news, usually on CBS, or from the weekly magazines, like Time and Newsweek. When I was in my twenties, I could probably be considered a modest conservative, having been brought up in a provincial, Irish-Catholic, working class environment. However, as I matured I started evolving into a more liberal philosophy. This was a result of my coming of age in a world that was very different from my childhood. Teaching allows you to realize that not everybody comes from the same background. My readings in literature and psychology and, especially in counseling, opened my mind to new situations. This change was not overnight but was evolutionary. I believe it began in the sixties. By my sixties, I was a confirmed liberal trying to get people to see things from a different perspective. I have not always been successful, but I'm eighty and still trying. World events make my avocation much easier. Horrendous events, such as Newtown and Boston, will change the public's views. At least, I still hope so.