It’s 1968 All Over Again
by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON October 12, 2017 12:00 AM @VDHANSON
The United States and the world appear to be reliving the language, politics, and global instability of 1968. Almost a half-century ago, in 1968, the United States seemed to be falling apart. The Vietnam War, a bitter and close presidential election, antiwar protests, racial riots, political assassinations, terrorism, and a recession looming on the horizon left the country divided between a loud radical minority and a silent conservative majority.
The United States avoided a civil war. But America suffered a collective psychological depression, civil unrest, defeat in Vietnam, and assorted disasters for the next decade — until the election of a once-polarizing Ronald Reagan ushered in five consecutive presidential terms of relative bipartisan calm and prosperity from 1981 to 2001. It appears as if 2017 might be another 1968. Recent traumatic hurricanes seem to reflect the country’s human turmoil.
After the polarizing Obama presidency and the contested election of Donald Trump, the country is once again split in two. But this time the divide is far deeper, both ideologically and geographically — and more 50/50, with the two liberal coasts pitted against red-state America in between.
Century-old mute stone statues are torn down in the dead of night, apparently on the theory that by attacking the Confederate dead, the lives of the living might improve.
All the old standbys of American life seem to be eroding. The National Football League is imploding as it devolves into a political circus. Multimillionaire players refuse to stand for the national anthem, turning off millions of fans whose former loyalties paid their salaries.
Politics — or rather a progressive hatred of the provocative Donald Trump — permeates almost every nook and cranny of popular culture.