The elections next year look like they could be a test of the political maturity of progressive, social justice, and left activists and organizations. Let’s hope they do it better than we did back in the day.
It seems like ancient history now, but the youth movement and the left failed miserably in negotiating the political dilemmas and contradictions of the 1968 elections. Legitimately angry at the Johnson administration for its prosecution of the war in Vietnam, infuriated by the state sanctioned violence against protesters at the Democratic Party convention in Chicago, and turned off by the nomination of Vice President Humphrey, many of us sat out the presidential elections that year.
And what were the results of our stand on “principle,” our refusal to support the “lesser evil?” Nixon to begin with! A prolonging of the war! Watergate! The success of the Southern strategy and the beginnings of the long rise and consolidation of right wing extremism!
Let’s hope that today’s young will make better choices than we did. Otherwise the results of next year’s election could, if you can believe it, make 1968, as bad as it was, seem like a pale imitation to what would await the country and world if Trump is elected.