Before we can discuss the stereotype vs reality of “elite doves” and “reactionary hardhats”, we must know the difference between the two. Elite Doves were those who were against the war and made their opinion publically known. They are opposed to military use to diffuse a dispute. Most commonly, these elite doves were college-age students who collectively shut down numerous college campuses nationwide. The reactionary hardhats were people who were against those who were protesting against the war.
One of the most commonly known protests of the Elite Doves includes the protest at Kent State in Pennsylvania that took the lives of 4 students and wounded 9 other students. This was after Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia even after the war was supposed to be dying down and troops should have been pulled from Vietnam. After the shooting at Kent State, over one and a half million, students closed down twenty percent of college campuses across the United States. With the involvement of the college students, many construction workers took to the streets to protest the protests as well as protest the war itself.
With all of the protests going on at home, the men that were actively fighting on the front lines in Vietnam were not too pleased with the overwhelming amount of protests going on at home. Many of the boys that returned home hated the war but they also hated the antiwar protestors as well. Many of those who were protesting at the time had no idea what was going on overseas to the men.
George Wallace was favored by the “redneck racists” and those who were not favorable towards the college-age protestors. Wallace aimed to gain the following of hippies and antiwar protestors. Richard Nixon gave his famous speech “silent majority” which targets working-class men. Many people were convinced that Nixon wanted to end the war. He gained many followers from across a range of ages, from college kids to veterans of World War Two. Both Wallace and Nixon knew that many people wanted to end the war and get the troops back home.
When it came to this time in History when America was fighting in the Vietnam War, there was a large social class within the country. There was the higher class which included those who were highly educated with much higher incomes than the lower class and a majority included those having a low income. Without the anti-war left, many middle-class members would begin to lean toward the right. This would create much more support for the candidacy of George Wallace, an outspoken racist.
Political parties could have done a lot during this time to prevent man different things. Going into the war was already a super controversial topic, to begin with. Many believed there was no point to the war and that the men doing the fighting were losing their human morals. There was often talk about taking the troops out of the war, but it never happened. A lot could have changed and been avoided if people’s words and promises were taken more seriously.