AMST202 : The Politics and Culture of the 1960s

Sunday April 19th 2009, 7:05 pm
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During his presidency, Nixon pledged to wind down the war. However, when Nixon had troops invade Cambodia, anger of this decision imploded, most notably, on college campuses. As Lytle said, “Nixon dismissed the protestors as ‘”bums blowing up campuses.” Nixon’s statement did not deter students from continuing their protests, with Kent State being one of them. After it was apparent the protest was not going to subside, the governor quietly called in the National Guard. They asked the students to dissipate, but no one complied. The violence escalated after that; canisters of tear gas was thrown which quickly led to thirteen seconds of time that left four students dead and nine injured. Afterwards, Nixon expressed no concern or sympathy. It absolutely astounds me that nothing was expressed by Nixon. He had no problem drafting college students to fight overseas with the possibility of getting killed for their country, but expressed no emotion on college students exhibiting their right of free speech. It makes me wonder if that situation were to happen today, what would President Obama’s reaction would be.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 6:50 pm
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My roommate is a Historic Preservation major, so I hear all the time what efforts are being completed by different areas of the country to preserve history and its doing the public a service. So, when I was reading Lytle, I noticed a different perspective. To confirm my reading, I had her reading and she slightly offended. I knew my hypothesis was correct; Lytle was hinting that preservationists were self-centered and did nothing for the public. Aforementioned, my roommate argued otherwise. She asked the questions of, what would the public learn about local history, state history, even national history if all they could do was read about it in a textbook? Would people even appreciate the history? Some say that history is in the past and that is it, but if they can see it, would that not make a difference? As much as I have enjoyed Lytle, I would have to go with my roommate on this one.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 5:41 pm
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In the movie, Klute, the main character Bree tries to stress over and over again how she controls every aspect of her life and how she can completely separate herself from her prostitution and how she takes nothing more from it than money. However, I think underneath the facade, she realizes that she is lost and is trying to grasp onto anything that can make her feel like a part of the world. I think that Klute serves as her rock and essentially, he is her protector. I think that Klute realizes this and perhaps Bree does too but absolutely does not want to admit that. However, I think that the movie still paints the picture of women needing to be protected by men, that they really cannot stand on their own, despite all the advances they have made.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 5:33 pm
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In the last part of the chapter, Douglas talks about how the media portrayed the necessity to choose between the two roles of mother and career woman. I think that this is a choice still reinforced by the media today. Much criticism was placed on Hillary Clinton when she was in the office as first lady when she was involved with the Health Care act. The media asked how she could be that involved with politics when she was trying to raise a daughter. They criticized that Chelsea was not receiving enough parenting from her mother and Hillary had no place in politics when her husband was president. Consequently, when President Obama was elected, Michelle Obama called Hillary to ask her how to handle bringing up her daughters in the White House while still trying to have an active role in politics herself. So while much has been done to remedy woman’s standing, I think that media still is looking to pose that question.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 5:22 pm
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There was mention in class about how the decision about choosing between motherhood and career women only affected the upper class women. I believe that they were not even the ones to express the sentiment. If anything, they adhered to the mother/wife role because that was what their society was used to and if they rebelled, perhaps they would fall down on the society ladder. Betty Friedan’s worked focused on expressing the unknown feelings of the middle-class women, a group of women to whom it had more relevance, all of which Susan Barbara talked about in her piece, “About My Consciousness Raising.” She also talked about how women from all different class levels needed to unite if true change was to be achieved, a concept that has run rampant throughout this semester. Regardless of the problem, whether it was the race problem, the woman’s problem, or the war problem, the general thought was that all people need to unite together to reach their goal.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 5:16 pm
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As a sidenote, I think that the Douglas book is up there with any of the books that I have read in my time here at Mary Washington. I enjoy her style of writing and the way she presents different ideas and themes. Betty Friedan, perhaps the most notable figure of the Women’s Movement, next to Gloria Steinem, while raising a very valuable point, perhaps presented two extremes. Essentially, she believed that women either had to choose the wife and mother role or as the career focused woman who would never be the first. Perhaps true for that era, I do not think that that has particular relevance today. While I do know girls who say they are only in college to meet a husband, I would like to say that that is not the majority. I think that the thought today is that a woman can have both; that they can finish the level of education they want and then be a mother if they so desire. I do not think that this ideology is cyclical. I do not believe that it will revert to the thought system of the 1960s. If anything, I think that it would stay the same as it is now in the years to come.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 5:11 pm
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While it is labeled an autobiography, I believe that Davis wanted to focus more on the political parts of her career rather than her life as a whole. She stressed in her work that one individual can catalyze change, a concept that is echoed by Dr. Gregory Stanton of the American Studies Department. Dr. Stanton has been telling his classes for years that if you believe in something so passionately, that you are on the road to making a difference. Davis was the same way; she dove into her passion with so much intensity that it changed both her and the political realm around her. This book showed the change over time concept that some biographies tend to miss. I think that this method allows readers to become more connected to her life and perhaps learn more from her than a normal textbook.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 5:06 pm
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During this era, the domino effect was linked with Communism. The United States thought that it must take a stand against Communism or else one country would be taken over, one country at a time. I did not realize that the domino effect also happened in our own society. Other ethnic groups saw the blacks taking a stand and realized that they too could do it. American Indians, Latinos, Asian Americans as others realized that they could define themselves as individuals and dictate their own futures, separate from what society told them based on their skin color. These groups were proud of their heritage and wish to hold on to it but still be fully assimilated into society, for they believed that their was no reason why they could not. I think that these struggles remain today. While the country originally was labeled a “melting pot,” it has now been described as a “tossed salad;” that while everything is together, the separate pieces are still evident.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 5:01 pm
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In the film, Negroes with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power, I found the story to be interesting but did not necessarily believe in the ideology exhibited by Williams. He believed that since the 14th Amendment could not include Negroes, it was justified for black men to resort to violence, including murder. I think that that is a bit intense because to me, it would only escalate the violence and fuel further reaction from the whites. How that could lead to full integration without underlying tensions is beyond me. His ideas were perpetuated by his use of the radio in which he said, “Let our battle cry be heard all around the world.” He was welcomed as an exile to Cuba by Castro himself, but eventually went to China for he admired their efforts. I thought it was strange that the only reason Nixon allowed him to come back to the States was because he wanted to open relations with China. To use a man as a ploy seems a bit intense, if not immoral or unethical.

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Sunday April 19th 2009, 4:53 pm
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I always knew that Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated at around the same time as Martin Luther King Jr. I knew the reasons behind King’s death, but I never thought about why Kennedy had been killed. The Lytle reading explained the motivations behind the Kennedy death and how Sirhan Sirhan found such an offbeat motivation. He was a Palestinian nationalist, a ethnicity that did not usually precede “nationalist,” or at least to the American public. To me, the reason for killing Kennedy, because he saw Kennedy leaving a synagogue (on TV nonetheless), seems preposterous. As a consequence of the assassination, Eugene McCarthy more or less withdrew from the race. He said he left because he was so distraught and lost heart. I wonder if it was because he thought he would be assassinated if he got into office.

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