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Donald Trump’s War on the 1960s

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tags: Trump



Leonard Steinhorn is a professor of communication and affiliate professor of history at American University, a CBS News political analyst, author of The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy(2007) and co-author of By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and the Reality of Race (2000).

... An October 2016 PRRI survey found close to three-fourths of Trump voters and white evangelical Christians bemoaning an American society and way of life that to them has changed for the worse since the 1950s. Donald Trump has become their cultural and political reset button.

To be sure, no immigration policy or insistence on saying Merry Christmas will reinstate the 1950s in America. A nation that was 87 percent non-Hispanic white in 1950 will be 47 percent in 2050. Seven in 10 Americans claimed church membership during the ’50s, but now just 20 percent of millennials say churchgoing is important and almost 40 percent say they have no religious affiliation at all.

But while the president and his supporters can’t reverse demography, they are trying through rhetoric, symbolism, policy and politics to resurrect an iconic post-World War II Norman Rockwell version of what it means to be authentically American.

To them, the ’60s undermined what was good and virtuous in America. In their sepia-toned view of our history, it was a triumphant military, a white working class and a Father Knows Best conception of nuclear families, moral values and suburban bliss that made America great.

In this America we saluted the flag, revered the police, attended church, trusted authority, respected tradition and venerated sturdy, stoic, upstanding lunch pail heroes who earned their American dream without griping or government assistance.

It’s not that religious and ethnic minorities are absent from this history — they gave America character, after all and we all need to show our melting pot tolerance. But how nice it was that they knew their place, didn’t get too uppity and honored the primacy of Christians and whites who, the story goes, steadied and built the United States.

America was much more of a community before the agitators caused all the problems, wasn’t it?

Then came the 1960s. And it was then that the so-called agitators pointed out that those charming Levittown havens — just like the Trump apartment complexes — had no welcome mat for blacks and those good middle-class occupations excluded women. ...


Read entire article at Moyers & Company


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