war paper - Demonstrations of Failure The generation change...

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Demonstrations of Failure The generation change and shift in America that has occured in the last few years guarantees that an anti-war movement will never again gain traction in today’s world the way it did in the 60s. There is certainly an "anti-Bush" movement, but not an antiwar movement: There is no public demand to withdraw from Iraq the way there once was a demand to withdraw from the Vietnam War. President Bush calls the comparison of Iraq with Vietnam a "false analogy" and accuses those who use it of sending the wrong message to the enemy and to the troops. Likewise Congressman Richard Baker calls the analogy "wrong, disturbing and dangerous." As “inaccurate” as these comparisons may be, it is undeniable that both of these wars share very similar political ideas. However, we will never see anti-war opposition in America today the way we did 40 years ago, the public is more apathetic towards politics then they have ever been. In order to understand the reasons why two very similar wars resulted in two very different public reactions it is necessary to understand the differences between the majority of demonstrators at each time. “Between 1950 and 1960, the number of Americans pursuing higher education had risen from 1 million to 4 million. In the decade after 1960 this number doubled again, reaching 8 million in 1970. By then, more than half the U.S. population was under the age of thirty. The baby boomers sheer numbers and unprecedented concentration in institutions of higher learning gave them a collective identity and ensured that their actions would have impact” (Morgan 33) At this time in American history, neither political nor cultural radicalism was embraced by the youth population. It was generally accepted that they would seek a secure place in the system, not its overthrow. Despite this benign and rather commonplace acceptance of American society it was the minority of primarily liberal-arts and graduate students from the country’s more elite universities that gained public notice. Children of affluence could afford to be idealistic, they were economically secure and raised with the conviction of their own importance. At first, university demonstrations were not in direct defiance of the war in Vietnam, students from the University of California, Berkeley, had demonstrated free speech, occupying the university administration building and resulting in the arrest of nearly five hundred students. Later there would be similar university demonstrations at Columbia, Kent State University in Ohio and Jackson state. Although students were
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war paper - Demonstrations of Failure The generation change...

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