/ History /
Billy Graham’s Mob Action at Kent State
I want to review some history, establish a few facts. I wish it were easy. (I wish it were possible.) We live in a culture no worse than many another, but no better either: the real difference between Tiberius’ Rome and Nixon’s US is that that was them; this is us.
The US chose to inherit the French war in Indochina: shoehorn peasants who never heard of France or US, never had or wanted any government at all, into our type of applause for greed. We admitted being there in the 1960s, actually we were there militarily in SouthEast Asia since the 1950s. We supported whatever government was not Communist, was amenable to mercantile control. No honest discussion was possible, there was no honest reporting: there never is. I don’t trust the Bible’s account of the Passion; I don’t trust the Times’ account of wars in SouthEast Asia.
But streaming The Day the ’60s Died over the last few days reminded me to distrust what the churches were saying as much as I distrusted the media. When the media, and the Whitehouse, and Billy Graham line up, watch out. Church and State make one Janus face: war, for profit. Prophets for war.
I review a few familiar-seeming facts:
Protests against US conduct in Vietnam had reached epic proportions. But now Nixon’s military had invaded Cambodia.
The protests escalated as the war escalated. The media continued to get away with labeling the protesters “students” (when they weren’t labeling them Communists!) a misrepresentation the public seemed to have accepted: even scholars who should have known better: passed on the misleading simplification. The protests I was involved in from the mid-1960s on were stuffed with PhDs wearing their doctoral colors. There may have been more students than faculty present, but the faculty members were the “leaders”: not the “students”.
I’ll never forget returning home after a march on the UN and turning on the News to see how we’d done. First of all the police wouldn’t let more than 10% of us out of Central Parks’ Sheep Meadow where we’d gathered. A couple of thousand of our hundred thousand were bled onto the streets, then more of us. The more of us where then deflected by police away from the UN. Regardless thousands of us wore our academic colors, and for every PhD there were another PhD ABD, wearing mere civies, but faculty non the less, not students.
On the TV Walter Cronkite said, “Some students wore academic garb.” a deliberate lie. The whole thing was choreographed to misrepresent the demographics, to reduce our significance.
Notice, even radicals like Noam Chomsky contined to repeat the lie as a commonly known fact: the protesters were students, unfleged, not to be taken seriously.
Kent State was one of a zillion universities failing to communicate with its democracy.
Nixon sent in the National Guards: armed, with live ammo.
My satiric letter to Nixon at the time pretend to misunderstand that the soldiers were there to attend class for the striking academic population: after all, when the postal workers struck a bit before, Nixon sent in the army, not to murder the postal workers but to deliver the mail! Therefore: if Nixon sent the National Guard to Kent State it can only, rationally, have mean that the guardsmen were there to be made literate! Numerate! to fill the classrooms during the strikes.
The protesters didn’t shrivel and shrink, some guardsmen shot and killed some of them.
Nixon was sorry, but he called the protesters “bums”. Members of a democracy who don’t silently acquiesce in war crimes are “bums”, without value. A pig in a slaughter house has more value that a non-obediant scholar.
The next day, almost instantly, The Dick Cavett Show featured the Reverand Doctor Billy Graham (doctorate “honorary”). Cavett asked Graham about Nixon calling the protesters bums.
1) Graham said he hadn’t heard Nixon call the protesters bums. (Was he saying that his host was misinformed? that the whole world was misinformed? that even the obedient media were lying?)
2) Graham said that he had talked to President Nixon, his friend! and that Nixon hadn’t called the protesters bums to Graham, over the phone. (Therefore there was no reason to believe the reports.)
3) Graham swiftly and without detail conceded that members of a democracy had a right to dissent …
4) but instantly switched to characterize Kent State dissent as “mob action”.
4B) I said “instantly” but actually Billy first expostulated that hearing about the protests, “I fell down on my knees and said Oh God, what is happening to this country”?
4C) Cavett accepted that, Billy received no straight line and went on about mob action. What we needed to hear next was what God said! Was God surprised by anything? Hadn’t God seen wicked governments before? and moron ring-in-the-nose publics?
Government is obliged to protect lives. A democracy committing war crimes must squelch mobs. Labeling a protest a mob justifies killing.
Billy Graham proved for the Whitehouse and its war that it was alright to spread an undeclared war across sovereign boundaries into a new country. So of course it was alright to shoot and kill protesters.
Notice: after Kent State the “students” did behave rather less that they were immortal.
Free speech, democratic discussion, had been a joke: a bad joke. Nobody believed it any more.
OK, that quick, fast and loose, can be edited indefinitely,
We have a mercantile government in a mercantile society, calling itself Christian. Billy Graham was no more a Christian that Richard Nixon was a Quaker!
(I once explained to Nixon that the reason I’d voted for him (which I never did) was that as a Quaker he had, like me, to be a pacifist!)
War for Profit, Prophets for Profit
I won’t say that all wars are for profit, neither in fact nor in intention. But most are. Are they not? The king has the support of his barons. When the barons see that they’re losing more than gaining, they stop supporting the king and his war.
The Borgia pope fought wars left and right. All ere intended for Borgia profit.
The US has the support of Dow Chemical, and other commercial “barons”. Nixon had the support of the army, he didn’t need the support of amazon.com, amazon.com didn’t yet exist.
Modern wars are often simple, at least they start out simply. The president’s friend and supporter owns 51% of “Lockheed”. Lockheed makes planes, tanks, guns, bullets … gun powder. Guns, bullets … gun powder make “Lockheed” rich, war makes them richer. Every little Vietnamese girl napalmed into a screaming dervish puts another $40,000 into the “owner’s” pocket.
When Rodrigo Borgia’s army invaded some other state gold filled the Church coffers. If he miscalculated, the gold went elsewhere. But the intention of the war was for profit: in dynasty if not in gold: to improve some other Borgia’s chances toward Saint Peter’s seat.
We drop the napalm on the little girl, because we believe it will be good for business. Oh, not the little girl’s business. Not mine, not yours. I don’t own 51% of IBM.
When I was drafted, October 1961, it wasn’t for my profit. Dow Chemical didn’t have to listen to my protests that I was a pacifist: Monsanto didn’t have to listen to me being a Christian. I wrote such avowals every chance I got, but I bet that the Congressional Record has not one example. Had I won an election, had I inherited 21% of GM, I would have become a citizen who counted. Meantime I had no more rights than the little girl under the napalm.
Savor the rapidity with which Billy Graham pulled the four dead youngsters at Kent State among the damned.
Jashua lay seige to Jericho or someplace. If some little girl got a stone chip in her eye, so what? Any theologian ought to be able to prove, prove in a breeze, that that little Canaanite girl was evil, hated of God. Like the students at Kent State, like any draft protester.
In my case the Billy Grahams of our history, the Nixons, made sure that I don’t have a Phd actual let along honorary. And I can’t have any honorary anything since my writings haven’t been published and those I published myself, from 1970 onward, got sabotaged. Caiaphas made sure that no one at Golgatha was passing out copies of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Billy Graham, Caiaphas, what’s the difference?
40,000 dead Americans is greater than the four million dead gooks will killed.
The DVD reminded us that Nixon had said that he too wanted to end the killing, he too wanted Americans out of SouthEast Asia. I wanted all the killers out of SouthEast Asia, but where would we put them? Let God do it. Don’t presume to know what he wants or to be able to help: especially not when it’s God, among others, that you’re silencing.
40,000 dead Americans: is that an accurate stat? Who knows?
The Vietnamese dead have been estimated as four million, killed specifically by American involvement. Is that figure accurate? Only God knows. So let God act on what he knows while we get out of his way.
(I don’t doubt that the Communists would have killed plenty without help from the pentagon, but it didn’t happen that way, not that way alone.)
The US never that I know of admitted to four million murdered gooksP: but so what? Did Germany admit to eighteen million dead dissidents? Dead by torture and starvation and impoverishment as well as by gas, by bullets?
Don’t expect truth from governments: they’re the evil. If we shut up, ha ha, maybe we’ll hear God whispering. Maybe even Billy Graham would have.
I still want to know: how much of Christian churches’ investments is in instruments of war? Again, we need not their declarations, the Christians’ or the churches’; we need God’s.
If I shut up would we hear God whispering? I don’t know. First, you shut up: don’t send me or anyone to schools, especially not to liars’ schools. Then I’ll shut up. Then we’ll all listen.
Cambodia? TedMex? I see the Pacific as making borders, I see the Rio Grande as being a border; I see US / Mexico and an entirely artificial border, I don’t respect it.
I’ve never lived in SouthEast Asia, I don’t know what kind of borders might exist between Vietnam and Cambodia. Nixon bombed here, Nixon bombed there, I’m not a lawyer, Thank you, Jesus.
I’m not the hypocrite; Nixon et alia are the hypocrite: they pretend to honor nations, sovereignties; not me, I don’t. Irony, irony, irony.
I say “Nixon” but of course I mean Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson …
There were four of us together that day, gathered to march to the UN: Anton, Rose, Hilary, Paul. Rose were here PhD Bryn Mawr gown. Hilary has a doctorate, Columbia now but didn’t then. I was PhDabd, NYU then, and now. Anton was PhDabd, Madison, then, and now. Thus: 1/4 of us would have counted as academic to the camera that day, actually 3/4 of us belonged: now 100% of us. Furthermore, my abd is more the result of sabotage by the society than failure by pk. I suspect that something similar is true of Anton’s degree. The Temple would not have allowed recognition of Jesus’ halo. Authorities are born to represent truth, but grow up to misrepresent everything.
Lynch Mob Christians
A favorite moment in the ’60s Died film: some grim looking women give statements to the camera in the context of the guardsmen shooting the protesters: one stiff bosomed patroiot pronounces, “They were warned”. Terrorists everywhere have always been able to say such: slaves were warned the instant of their birth. Law means whatever we mean it to mean, and means something else a moment later.
40,000 dead Americans, iterated over and over / vs never mentioned 4,000,000 dead Vietnamese
self-appointed (ie palmed onto God) government compels govt supervised schools to assign
much more to sift through moved from yesterday’s post, and now it’s a day still later
and now still another day, the whole things needs to be recut and sewn.