21 02 2012

We had managed to live through the latest of crisis.  After 1955, the world sort of leaned over just a bit on its axis.  First, we had that integration crisis in Little Rock.  Eisenhower took care of that one with his tanks.  Then we had shortages of coffee, sugar, bacon and other various products.   Why, I don’t really remember, but I’ll just bet it had something to do with prices.

The news media was running things more and more these days and everyone was listening and paying attention to whatever it was they said.  Mostly because everyone was watching that box in their living room and in their bedroom and in their kitchen.  But we were all more prosperous than ever before.  And it was fun for most people.

In my life, we were living in an 800 square foot house, very happily.  And we had a new baby and a 3 year old.  I was busy at home and my husband was busy traveling and selling.  Most of my neighbors were living the same sort of life as me.  Husbands left home on Monday and returned on Thursday.  We mothers watched out for each other, drank coffee together, and watched our kids play.   But that world just kept rolling right along.

A young whiz bang named John F. Kennedy won the next election.  He had all the support of the media behind him in his election bid.  He was running against a Republican name Richard Nixon who had served as  Vice President under Eisenhower.  The media did all they could to help Kennedy and hurt Nixon.  We had the first of the television debates and the media even made fun that Nixon needed a shave.  All of America was watching these debates and people stood in line for hours in order to vote.

When Kennedy was inaugurated, he had the full support of most of the country. But the first thing Kennedy had to face was the unsuccessful invasion by exiles of Cuba in the Bay of Pigs.  Next, the Russians tried to install nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from our borders.  After this, Kennedy got us into the space race.  About this time, the Berlin Wall was also built.

Meanwhile back at home, those ‘in charge chidren’ were taking charge of everything they could. The had discovered the ‘demonstration’ technique.  They had destroyed virtually most of their families or home lives and now they were going to work on the country.  First issue was that of integration.  They banded together and held demonstrations all over the country for whatever cause it was that day.  They left their homes and began to hitch  or hike everywhere.  The highways were full of them as they hurried to their destination in order to march, sing, have a bonfire and generally cause trouble.

Back at the White House, Kennedy had inherited a problem with Vietnam.  Eisenhower had warned him not to get involved, but this didn’t stop Kennedy.  Eisenhower had 900 advisors in Vietnam to help the French.  Kennedy made this number much higher.  Then he was assassinated in Dallas and Lyndon Johnson was made the new President.

Johnson immediately increased the number of troops in Vietnam.  In the first few days in office, he urged passage of Kennedy’s civil rights bill and a tax cut.  Meanwhile, he tripled the number of troops in Vietnam twice over the years.  Most Americans wanted out of that war and Johnson kept getting us in deeper.  I remember one Sunday evening when he made a speech on the television.  Everyone knew it was going to be about Vietnam and were waiting for his words to say that we were pulling out.  Instead, he reported that he had sent in an untold number of fresh troops and planes and ships.  After Word War II, we had the Korean Conflict and now this Vietnam War.  Enough!

Those children who were protesting everything and anything took on the Vietnam War.  After all, they would be the ones who would be called to duty and they did not wish to go.  Most opted to go to college in order to avoid being drafted.  So these students now protested everywhere they could.    Living on the streets, they were unwashed and grew their hair long in order to show their solidarity.  Some of these students were killed during their protests and this just escalated their causes.  The television screen was full of their antics day after day.

While all this was going on, Johnson pushed through his Great Society programs.  These were virtually welfare for everyone.  We were all going to live this great, wonderful life of no work, all play, and lots and lots of free stuff.

All this will be done right after we all have a group hug.