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

By Eugene J. McCarthy | Go to book overview

23
Changing America

In the course of the past ten years, the young people of this country have been tested as never before in our history. Their moral courage has been tested by the great political issues of our times -- the war in Vietnam and racial discrimination at home.

Their physical courage has been tested in many places -- in the South all through the 1960s, at the Pentagon in 1967, at Orangeburg, South Carolina, in 1968, at the Chicago convention in the same year, at Kent State University and Jackson State College in 1970, at Southern University in 1972, at countless demonstrations for peace and for civil rights throughout the decade.

They have faced clubs, police dogs, tear gas, mace, and bullets. They have not been found wanting in courage.

Their intellectual commitment, too, has been tested in their efforts to reform the political process, in their analysis of overconsumption and in their opposition to it, and in their support of conservation and environmental programs.

My first political experience with great numbers of young people was in the campaign of New Hampshire in the early months of 1968. They came like the early spring, with a sense of purpose and with promise of change. The older people in that state were glad to see them. Some remarked that they had not talked to their own children in years as they had talked to the young workers of that campaign.

There had been youth and student involvement in other campaigns, in those of Adlai Stevenson and John Kennedy. There were two significant differences, however, between the earlier participation and that of 1968.

The first difference was quantitative. It was estimated that as many as two thousand students campaigned in New Hampshire fulltime during the ten days before the election, and that as many as

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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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