The Times, They Are a’Changin’….
My old pal, the improvisor, comedian, author, educator and man about Chi. town, Aaron Freeman has a fascinating take on one George Corley Wallace, the bete noir among bete noires of my youth. And, no, the pun contained therein is not lost on me.
Wallace, you may recall — or have read about — was the patron saint of segregation back in the 1960s. He famously “stood in the schoolhouse door” when black students tried to enter the University of Alabama. During one of his inauguration speeches, he ranted, memorably, “segregation now, segregation tomorrah, segregation foreva!” He ran for president in 1968. His third-party gambit earned nearly 10 million votes, 13.5 percent of the total cast.
The then-Alabama governor was portrayed in nightly newscasts, rightly, as our national embarrassment, our holy land’s sick second cousin whom we were terribly ashamed to claim as kin.
Anyway, Freeman recounts the “redemption” of Wallace through the decades in this vid:
Honest — watch this thing. The damned thing makes me wonder again (something I’ve been doing nearly ceaselessly the last few sad years) if we on the Left aren’t too goddamned forgiving.
BTW: The American Independent Party, the Far Right, paleoconservative gang that tabbed Wallace as its nominee in ’68, cross-nominated a certain Li’l Duce with Mike Pence as his running mate in 2016. The AIP was seen nearly 50 years ago as a fringe bunch of loons, just short of commitment to mental institutions, as out of touch with America as flat-earthers and Holocaust deniers.
Their man now runs the country.
It makes a guy want to become an evolution denier.
Eugene McCarthy was a darling for the briefest and most shining of moments. Often a conservative, he came out with guns blazing (you’ll pardon the inapt imagery) against the Vietnam War, bucking the leader of his own party, back in 1968.
Scads of young people jumped aboard his bandwagon, oblivious to the fact that he’d sponsored anti-immigration legislation and demanded his presidential campaign workers cut their hair and shave their beards. It wouldn’t be the first time young voters would fall in love with a candidate based on a single anti-war stance — Ron Paul comes to mind — despite his anathema toward the length and breadth of the rest of their agenda. Anyway, the McCarthy candidacy withered like an Easter lily when Bobby Kennedy jumped in the race in the spring of ’68.
For the life of me, I normally couldn’t cite a single quote from McCarthy until I ran across this one, a perfect observation for these remaining December Sundays.
Of football coaches, McCarthy said, “You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important.”