Week 10 Post

During the Vietnam War there was a class divide in America. Historian Penny Lewis argues that the split over Vietnam during the late 1960s and early 1970s between “elite doves” which were liberal elites and “reactionary hardhats” who were working class republicans who described themselves as ordinary people, mainly family men and veterans, who had become fed up withvarious facets of the peace movement” (Lewis, 160).  At a protest in New York City after Nixon announced the invasion into Cambodia, a group of these “elite doves” first protested their antiwar beliefs, and shortly after, a group of “reactionary hardhats” came and filled the city. From this protest, we see how the media painted these working class citizens as being strong supporters of the war, and that the “hardwork hawk” would find these individuals to serve in the war. These individuals would seen be known at the “silent majority” in US politics. George Wallace and Richard Nixon tapped into the sterotype for political advantage. For Nixon, he used the class war to “to consolidate the “emerging Republican majority” that he and his party sought” (Lewis, 162). It is even said that “Nixon administration specifically, fanned the flames of polarization and reaped its rewards” (Lewis, 162). President Nixon would focus on the silent majority and it would become one of his main focuses. George Wallace would paint these working class individuals as being “militant, radical and activist” (Lewis, 166), and because of this, America needed to swing left.  Wallace tapped into a different group for political advantage. This group would be the “elite doves” who wer composed of the hippies and the antiwar protesters. To attract this group, “Wallace’s economic populism and flamboyant language of class resent-ment helped him to achieve a popular following among Northern urban workers for a period during his presidential campaign” (Lewis, 171). 

During this period, there were a lot of things of happening, so I think this was causing all Americans to be stressed out which might be a reason why there was so much conflict. This is one of the reasons why I do not think the Democratic Party could have prevented this emerging political realignment. I feel like when there is so much uncertainness happening in the world, people are going to do whats best for them and when it comes to politics, they are going to follow people who are going to work towards the goals they have. I think both Wallace and Nixon used peoples fears to create polarizing goals for each party, and used class divisions to do this.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: