August 26-29 – Chicago: The Whole World Was Watching

The 1968 Democratic National Convention

If one had to choose between the Mafia running America and the military-industrial complex, where was one to choose? – Norman Mailer, from Miami and the Siege of Chicago:  An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968.

The more things change…

O.k., so 2018 isn’t the same as 1968.  I’m not even sure if we’re existing in the same universe.  However, some aspects of society today seem to parallel that tumultuous time.  And in the world of politics, the Democratic Party’s wounds never really healed.  For the Left, 1968 was catastrophic.

I think we’ve got a bunch of thugs here, Dan. – Walter Cronkite, responding to reporter Dan Rather being roughed up by convention security on national television.

The good will and hope inspired by LBJ’s Civil Rights legislation after his election in ’64 was gone with the Southeast Asian wind, and the party was splintered by the time the ’68 convention rolled around between the anti-war delegates and those who prefered to maintain LBJ’s policies.  The status quo won out due to the back room manuvering of powerful party boss Mayor Daley, and Hillary Clinton Hubert Humphry took the nomination over Bernie Sanders more progressively-minded anti-war candidates McCarthy, McGovern and, of course, Pigasus.

The scenes of violence and disbelief inside the convention hall were topped by the horrific chaos on the streets and in Grant Park, where anti-war protesters led by the Youth International Party (Yippies) and the National Mobilization Committe to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) were beaten by police with fists and billy clubs with Mayor Daley’s blessing.  As the news cameras rolled, protesters chanted “The whole world is watching!”  It was, and it still is.

So your brother’s bound and gagged
And they’ve chained him to a chair
Won’t you please come to Chicago just to sing?
In a land that’s known as freedom
How can such a thing be fair?
Won’t you please come to Chicago for the help that we can bring?

-Graham Nash

For a unique account of what happened in Chicago, I recommend this classic by Norman Mailer:




2 thoughts on “August 26-29 – Chicago: The Whole World Was Watching”

  1. I was seven years old when this was all going down- and I can recall watching it on television- and it is kind of strange but the tragic events of 1968- the assassinations- and the Democratic Convention and the election that year- -along with a trip with my grandparents to Washington DC- sparked a love for history in me. . At seven I didn’t fully understand what was happening that year…. It took decades for the Democratic Party to recover from this debacle. The next 24 years- only one four year one term Democrat in the White House and that was only because of Ford pardoning Nixon that Carter got elected.

    Liked by 1 person

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