Dishonest Government in America From 1965 Through 1980

Throughout 1965 through 1980, Americans were faced with a dishonest government, thus creating a rift between the two. Both presidents, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon involved the United States in the war in Vietnam even though most citizens opposed. Johnson’s commitment to the Vietnam War overshadowed his initial commitment to continuing Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Protests against the Vietnam War erupted all over America, one of the most violent protests to arise was the Democratic Convention in Chicago of 1968 when the leaders of the yippies said to stir as much trouble as possible in order to show their opposition to the war. Since, there wasn’t much support on the home front to serve their country, the government issued a draft. Another form of resistance against the Vietnam War which was made popular by Muhammad Ali was tearing up draft notices. As punishment, Ali was stripped of his championship and banned from boxing by the government. Although Ali was punished for tearing up his draft, he did not stop speaking out against the war. He was influential in the shaping of anti-war movements and a leader against racial injustice. Also happening in the 1960’s, were movements and reforms. The Civil Rights Movement gained momentum in the 1960’s in which the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965 and then finally the Civil Right Act passed in 1968; however this was not met without resistance. Whites were intolerant of blacks coming into their communities and an uprising of rebellions took place as a result. The Civil Rights Movement influenced a firestorm of movements to take place in the 1960s, influencing groups such as ones fighting for Black Power to arise. During the 1970s, Americans were outraged by the policy, Vietnamization. Even though as part of Vietnamization, American soldiers were being removed from the war thousands of Americans protested against it because it did not stop the United States’ involvement in the war. Instead, the United States used resources to try to strengthen the South Vietnamese army. The government time and time again let down its citizens, especially once the Watergate scandal was brought to light. Americans were left feeling betrayed, especially by the Republican Party. Thus, five Democrats were elected into Senate the next election totaling it to be forty nine Democrats. During 1977 to 1981, America battled stagflation. Stagflation was the occurrence of rising prices, inflation and combined with the halt of job availability. Unfortunately, President Jimmy Carter was met with the short end of the stick and was blamed for the consequences of past leaders. Tensions were high during the 1960s to the1980s, as a result of a dishonest and corrupt government and its failure to protect its people this gave way to and insurgence of protests against the Vietnam War for ten years, uprising of Civil Rights Movements, and ultimately resulted in limitations placed on America due to stagflation.

Most Americans opposed the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War in 1965. At first, President Lyndon B. Johnson committed in taking over and continuing Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, leading to the Great Society. However, as time progressed so did the progression of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. America’s involvement in the Vietnam War stemmed from the fear of communist expansion. In the beginning, Lyndon Johnson wanted to allocate few resources towards the Vietnam War; however, his advisors suggested he acted more forcefully and fully commit to the war. Still feeling the effects of the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union, the majority of US citizens wanted to pull out of the war in Vietnam. Feeling betrayed by the US government, citizens did not follow Johnson’s lead into the war, therefore, Johnson failed to rally forces on the home front and was forced to draft young Americans to fight in the war. The betrayal by the US government led to protests and riots of the US involvement by peace activists, the most widely known being the 1968 riot held in Chicago also called the Democratic Convention.

By 1968, opposition of the US involvement in the Vietnam War was at an all time high, college students and yippies protested in the streets of Chicago, resulting in brutal beatings committed by the police against protesters and innocent bystanders; therefore, magnifying the distrust for the US government. During the Democratic Convention of 1968, leaders of the Yippies, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin insisted protestors to stir up as much trouble as possible to illustrate their opposition of the Democratic Party. As a result, officers bashed protestors with clubs and used mace to blind others. The police went as far as attacking protestors who were already beaten up. Witnesses reported officers shoving civilians through glass windows. Americans further distrusted the government, the government that brutally attacks protestors who were exercising their first amendment and the government that attacks the innocent who just happened to be within the area. The government went too far by laying their hands on civilians. However, in the end the protestor’s efforts were in vain because their riots had little affect either party.

Many US citizens opposed America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, thus the US military struggled to obtain enough troops and President Lyndon B. Johnson resorted to drafting citizens, thus began the digging of the burial of Johnson’s presidency. “By 1967, almost 50 percent of the enlisted men in the army were draftees.” (Small 3). The draft led to the further the distrust between US citizens and the government. “Between 60,000 and 100,000 young men chose exile to avoid the draft” (Small 3). Several citizens resisted against the draft, fleeing to Canada and becoming AWOL. Of the thousands of draftees, Muhammad Ali was one of the most famous to rip up his notice. This resulted in his heavy weight title being taken away and being banned from boxing. Ali became an inspiration and spoke out against the Vietnam War, criticizing America’s injustice and the racism within the country. Ali was not only an icon when he was in the ring, but out of it as well. He spoke of the injustices of the American government and exposed the hypocrisy in America stating, “No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end.” Ali used his boxing career as a platform to speak out against the wrongs of the Vietnam War. Ali became an activist against not only the Vietnam War but against racial injustice. He became a leader, among the ranks of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. He used his popularity as a springboard to give speeches at college campuses on the Vietnam War and racism.

In conjunction with the Vietnam War was the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. During the 1960’s, African Americans fought for equal voting rights and equal treatment. When John F. Kennedy was in office he acknowledged the Black Power movement and their request for more federal protection, however he decided that it would be too costly for his campaign and stated that it was a “local matter”. Although Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965 which prevented the government from giving African Americans unfair literacy tests and other obstacles that previously impeded black’s right to vote, it wasn’t until 1968 when the Civil Rights Act was passed. The Civil Rights Act was finally passed after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. the act “banned racial discrimination in housing and jury selection and authorized federal investigation when states failed to protect civil rights workers from violence”. Unfortunately, the Civil Rights Act did not improve society and instead resulted in rebellions against the bill. Thus, sparking the movement for Black Power which inspired “Native Americans, Latinos, college students, women, gay men and lesbians, environmentalists, and others” to take a stand for their rights as well.

Between 1968 through 1972, the United States implemented the policy known as “Vietnamization” began by President Johnson during his last year in office. Even though this policy removed US troops from Vietnam it did not stop the United States involvement in the war. Instead, President Johnson began to allocate resources into improving the South Vietnamese military in order to continue the US’s involvement in the war, but without endangering as many US civilian lives. Once Nixon took over in office in 1969 he picked up where President Johnson left off. However, Nixon took it a lot further when he began secret aerial bombings on Cambodia which was known to be a neutral country at the time, thus killing many innocents. As a result, Nixon widened the war because Cambodia was weakened from the bombings North Vietnamese “moved further into Cambodia and strengthened the Khmer Rouge”. Once the public found out about Nixon’s secret invasion into Cambodia protests erupted in Washington D.C, “more than 100,000 people protested… and students boycotted classes on hundreds of campuses.” Students of Kent State University demonstrated their anger against Nixon’s actions by burning an ROTC building.

President Nixon was found guilty of campaign fraud, political espionage, sabotage, and many other crimes. On June 17, 1972 Nixon and five other men broke into the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel complex. The five men were arrested for breaking and entering. President Nixon and his men committed several crimes including espionage, obtaining secret information without the permission of the owner. Nixon recorded conversations that took place in the Oval Office. When asked to hand over the tapes, Nixon refused, “citing executive privileges and separation of powers”. Therefore, resulted in court case that lasted over two years. Distrust in American politics grew among US citizens as edited transcripts of the tapes were handed in. In 1974, certain that he would be impeached; Nixon resigned as the President of the United States. Ten congressmen whose actions spoke for the majority of the US citizens voted to impeach Nixon as president. September 8, 1974, Americans felt betrayed and were in outrage when the newly appointed President Ford pardoned Nixon. Not only were citizens feeling betrayed, but the Congress as well in which Mike Mansfield stated, “ All men are created equal… that includes presidents and plumbers as well”. The aftermath of the Watergate scandal caused the majority of citizens not to trust the Republican Party. During the next election Democrats gained five seats in the Senate, which came to a grand total of forty-nine Democrats.

During 1977-1981, President Jimmy Carter was elected into office. His term was met with complications from the start. And as fate would have it, Carter’s time in office was short lived due to the consequences brought on by the previous president’s decisions. America faced rising inflation in which the prices on fast food rose dramatically. The price of one cup of coffee nearly tripled in price and the price of a burger doubled. Gas prices steadily rose making it impossible for some to keep fueling their vehicles. Others had to line up at the gas station in the early morning to fill up their tanks. President Carter’s conflicting goals of trying to reduce poverty by helping the impoverished and improve education whilst trying to save money was met with disapproval by American citizens. Citizens were upset by his goals because their tax money was helping the underprivileged during the recession. Americans accused him of incompetency, placing blame on him for the recession and inflation.

For ten years, citizens opposed the government’s choice to fight in the Vietnam War and for ten years the government continued to involve the United States in the war. During the 1960s the government was met with a rise of Civil Rights Movements. By the 1970s citizens made it clear to a narrow-minded government to stop America’s involvement in the war, the government in turn made it seem like the US military was withdrawing troops, thus ending US involvement; however, it wasn’t true. The US government attempted to improve and use South Vietnam’s military to fight, sneakily undermining the opinions of US citizens and fellow government officials. Once the war ended, President Carter was left to pick up the pieces, an impossible task for any man. During these times, America was based off dishonesty and disloyalty, citizens protested for their civil rights and for the rights of those in Vietnam, the dishonesty the government exemplified outraged its citizens and its downfall for both the government and its citizens came shortly after.