The Hard Years: A Look at Contemporary America and American Institutions

By Eugene J. McCarthy | Go to book overview

22
Marching on Washington

Politicians and columnists often busied themselves over the last ten years by analyzing the latest Washington demonstrations, reviewing past demonstrations, making comparisons and evaluations. The general conclusion seemed to be that a few demonstrations were positive,

constructive, good, and productive; that others were negative, destructive, bad, and -- worst of all -- counterproductive. The only objective standard for these distinctions was whether or not there was violence.

There were at least six major Washington marches against the war in Vietnam, each under somewhat different leadership, each with different immediate objectives, each reflecting a different mood.

The first major demonstration took place on October 21, 1967. It was largely spontaneous and unplanned, led or at least spoken for by clergymen and writers. Some fifty thousand persons participated, most of them young and, according to newspaper reports, nearly all of them white. More than one hundred and fifty were seized by police. Among those arrested were a number of adults, including the well-known author Norman Mailer and David Dellinger, chairman of the Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. The principal target of the march was the Pentagon. Most of the marchers viewed their protest as a symbolic confrontation with the Pentagon. But some small groups tried to rush an entrance there and were repulsed by military police using rifle butts.

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara spent most of the day at the Pentagon. President Johnson reportedly worked in the White House.

The second major protest took place on November 15, 1969. Estimates of the number of marchers ranged from two hundred and fifty thousand to well over three hundred thousand. Most were young.

-118-

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The Hard Years: A Look at Contemporary America and American Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction by Tom Wicker vii
  • Preface xix
  • Part I - Institutions 1
  • 1 - Toward a More Responsible Presidency 3
  • 2 - The Vice President as Crown Prince 15
  • 3 - Changes in the Congress 19
  • 4 - The Courts, the Last Appeal 28
  • 5 - Court of Ideas 32
  • 6 - A Kind Word for the Bureaucrats 35
  • 7 - A Kind Word for the Military 45
  • 8 - A Warning About the Military Establishment 49
  • 9 - The Cia and the Inner Ring 58
  • 10 - The Corporations 61
  • 11 - The Universities 68
  • 12 - The Democratic and Republican Parties 75
  • 13 - Alternatives to the Major Parties 80
  • Part II - Operations 87
  • 14 - A Hard Look at the Primaries 89
  • 15 - Personality Cults 96
  • 16 - The Cult of the Expert 97
  • 17 - A Good and Becoming Exit 100
  • 18 - Listen to Mr. Parkinson 104
  • 19 - The Sst: Object Lesson in Dynamics of Opposition 106
  • 20 - The Lobbyists 109
  • 21 - Grant Park, Chicago 116
  • 22 - Marching on Washington 118
  • 23 - Changing America 122
  • Part III - Principles 125
  • 24 - Innocence in Politics 127
  • 25 - Language and Politics 130
  • 26 - Poetry and War 135
  • 27 - Ares 144
  • 28 - Intellectuals and Politics 148
  • 29 - Out of Phase 155
  • 30 - Trouble in the Economics Community 158
  • 31 - Constitutional Amendments 165
  • 32 - Five Systems of Justice 170
  • 33 - The Enemies List 173
  • 34 - Censorship 182
  • Part IV - A Good Person is Not So Hard to Find 185
  • 35 - John Bennett 187
  • 36 - Emerson Hynes 189
  • 37 - John Kennedy 190
  • 38 - Dan and Doris Kimball 193
  • 39 - Robert Lowell 196
  • 40 - Wayne Morse 197
  • 41 - Lewis Mumford 203
  • 42 - Eleanor Roosevelt 205
  • 43 - Frank Rosenblatt 207
  • 44 - Adlai Stevenson 208
  • Notes 215
  • Index 223
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