Romney in 1967, Vietnam, Peace, McCarthy and LBJ.

romney-george.jpg While I was in high school, trying to prepare for my future job, and trying to figure women out, there were so many other things going on. Those were very interesting times. According to Wikipedia: May you live in interesting times is reputed to be the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb and curse. It is reported that it was the first of three curses of increasing severity, the other two being: May you come to the attention of those in authority, and May you find what you are looking for.
I’ve certainly experienced the first two, but I don’t know that I’m looking for anything anymore.

I read everything I could while growing up. I spent a good part of every summer taking books out of the library, and I’m one of those weird kids that actually like having assigned books to read. I used to read cereal boxes if I was eating breakfast; I read packages while shopping; I read comics and novels and newspapers. In high school I read a lot about the war going on in Vietnam. lifeviet3.jpg I was very impressionable, and gathered at the time that the U.S. was helping to fight Communism spreading through the world by fighting the North Vietnamese. It seemed from what I read that Communism was pretty evil, and that the North Vietnamese were puppets of the Soviet Union, which was trying to take over the world the way that Hitler had. As things went on and on, I heard that a lot of U.S. soldiers were getting killed. Then we began seeing scenes of war on the nightly TV news as well. From my perspective, and from what I was reading, it seemed the U.S. needed to end that war, and it was very difficult to win by conventional methods. I decided, and I had read something along those lines somewhere, that we, the United States, should just drop a nuclear bomb on them and get it all over with. It made sense to me. Why keep wasting our soldiers on a war that seemed to never end?

I don’t know what made me change my mind. There was very little in the newspapers about opposition to the war for the sake of peace. From everything I’d been taught, the United States was the greatest defender of freedom and democracy on the planet, and had helped in large part to end both World Wars and to protect South Korea from being taken over by Communists. It was hard to imagine that we might be doing the wrong thing. I remember two things that upset my worldview. One was hearing about a Republican candidate for President who was against continuing the war. His name was George W. Romney. Not George W. Bush george_w_bush_worry.jpg – that would be over 30 years later. And not 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney mitt-romney.jpg either – George W. Romney was his father! Anyway, George W., the Romney, not the Bush, said that he didn’t believe it was necessary to be involved in Vietnam to stop Communism. He called for peace in Vietnam. That made sense to me. I began following anything written about him, hoping he would be the next President, but he suddenly dropped out of the race.

berrigans-life.jpg About this time, two Catholic Jesuit priests staged a protest against the war and the killings, but most especially the drafting of all of the young guys graduating from high school. They did so by pouring blood on draft files that they had taken out of an induction center. This was big news to me! Having been brought up very strictly, and having been an altar boy as well, I had always looked up to priests. That a priest would do something like that to make a statement! I was amazed. Then after being released, they did it again, this time creating homemade napalm out of Ivory Snow and gasoline, and pouring that on draft files right near me, in Catonsville, Maryland.

Burning of draft cards.

That was it for me. My opposition to the war was clear and never shaken again. I knew it was wrong, and I knew that going to fight there was a lost cause, and a waste of one’s life. I wasn’t going to go. Another candidate for President suddenly emerged. mccarthy.jpg This time it was a Democrat, Eugene McCarthy, and he was strongly against continuing the war. He was an intellectual, a writer, and a teacher. He challenged LBJ, something no one else in the Democratic party, including Robert Kennedy, would do. That was the kind of person I could admire over all else. Later, after McCarthy did extremely well in the New Hampshire primary, LBJ was seen as vulnerable, and Robert Kennedy announced he would also run against Johnson. lbj.jpg LBJ then announced he was not going to seek the nomination to run again. Hubert Humphrey announced that he would run. Following that, McCarthy won in Wisconsin and Oregon. Kennedy was trailing, having gotten a late start. Most young people were not interested in Humphrey, who was not coming off as being strongly opposed to the war. I was not impressed by Kennedy. bobby_kennedy.jpg Kennedy, however, won the important California primary. It could have become a very interesting contest, between McCarthy, seen as courageous for taking on Johnson, and Kennedy, with his youth and Kennedy sheen. However, Robert Kennedy was assassinated moments after his victory speech.

The Democrats, as usual, chose not to pick a maverick intellectual, but went with tried and true party-man Hubert H. Humphrey.  They lost the election, big time, to Republican Richard Milhous Nixon, a supporter of the war.


4 responses to “Romney in 1967, Vietnam, Peace, McCarthy and LBJ.

  1. Pingback: Romney » Romney in 1967, Vietnam, Peace, McCarthy and LBJ.

  2. Who are you? I resent having to state who I am to respond to your article when I don’t see your name anywhere. are you ?

    I found this site looking for information on what mitt romney was doing in 1967 when other kids his age were dying in vietnam. I heard him say that he regretted not serving in the military. That sounds like B.S. to me He evidently didn’t encourage any of his sons to serve.
    I was in vietnam in 1970. afterwards it seemed like a pretty bad idea. there I said it. I made a solid statement. why can’t that pussy romney do the same? I don’t want another lying, draft dodger rich kid for president. If somebody thinks we ought to go to war for something, that’s fine. but have the balls to say why. and if you are going to send other peopls sons and daughters to die in it, I think you ought to have been there yourself so you know what it’s like, or send your own kid first.

  3. I agree. Send your own kids first if you really believe war is necessary. Sorry you had to leave your name – I can edit it out. I didn’t think one had to leave their real name here; on another blog I write, 50,000 people have visited, and I get a lot of spam, so I changed the option to where one had to log in first before leaving a comment.
    I thought Vietnam was an incredibly bad idea, and so did a lot of other people. The current occupations are billed as being part of the war on terror, which is about as silly as shooting people to defeat Communism. One can fight to defend one’s territory, or to defend an ally, but to fight an ism with guns and tanks and bombs is very ineffective. Cutting off the supply of weapons and money to buy weapons would be much more effective, but actually having a better ideology, propped up by example, is the far better long-term strategy, in my opinion.

  4. I am so happy I found your blog. The information on your blog needs to be discovered so I have added you to my Google News Reader. I really look forward to reading more posts from you. Keep up the good work!

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