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Politics of our Time – 1964

Updated on April 5, 2017

Political Editorial

1964 I turned six years old. On my birthday I watched the Beatles make their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was wild.

That year my brother Truman went to Vietnam. My boxing hero Cassius Clay, changed his name to Mohammed Ali.

My Dad ate his supper every night in the living room. The black and white tube was tuned into Walter Cronkite showing us the latest in world events and what it meant. As a six year old they meant little to me. But Dad told me to watch the news with him anyway, even if I didn’t understand what was happening, because, “…one day it will make since to you.”

I’m turning 60 next year and the News still doesn’t make much since at times.

Johnson had his hands full that year, with the escalation of the Vietnam War, war protest, student unrest, draft card burning, and of course, race riots. Plus, he was still in the shadow of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy’s civil rights campaign. He wanted to crawl out from under it as quickly as possible and build his own legacy.

In January 1964, President Johnson announced his plans for the War on Poverty that led to EOA, Economic Opportunity Act. It established something called the OEO (Office of Economic Opportunity). It was all part of Johnson’s Great Society where poverty would be abolished along with racism.

However, that year would see race riots across the south but none bigger than the one in Philadelphia, where there were 341 injured and 774 arrested.


The KKK in Mississippi murdered five civil rights activist. Three of the murders inspired, Mississippi Burning, which brought to light how corrupt and wide spread the racist problems were in Mississippi, if not the entire south.

Malcom X formed the, Black Nationalist Party and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Yankees in the World Series.

I refer to 1964 as the beginning of the end.

The end of an era that had ruled Washington since WWII and the beginning of liberal indoctrination of our schools.

The end of ignoring racism and the beginning of dependence on government subsidies.

The end of advisors in Vietnam and the beginning of a wider and more involved presence in that arena.

Our Government changed that year. Gradually, month by month we became a “progressive” society with little or total disregard for the future. In years ahead SSN would be in jeopardy. Congress would borrow from it to pay for social programs and never pay it back.

Liberalism, in the form of social programs, was in full swing by years end and gaining momentum. Like the bombs falling over North Vietnam there was no end in sight.

Like I said I was six years old and most of what I saw was unrelated to my word of plastic toy soldiers and exploding ant mounds. I was more concerned with learning my ABC’s than understanding the Socialist agenda taking shape in D.C. But my Dad insisted that I watch and watch I did. Sometimes he would ask me what I thought, but mostly we watched in silence with neither of us saying much.

By years end we had seen quite a bit—a major earthquake in Alaska, the assignation of Sam Cooke, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer premiers, Berkley sit in for Free Speech, the election of Johnson (who Dad despised), Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize, and so much more.

It was a year filled with more news than Cater has pills. I remember Dad saying it was a witch’s caldron and the Republicans were stirring the Democrats around.

To bring this forward in time, 2017 is shaping up that way except it’s the Republicans being stirred in the pot by the Democrats this time around.

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