Pro-Trump Rally Remembers History Incorrectly

Trump supporters gather near Beachcomber Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights as part of New Jeresy’s Make America Great Again march. (Photo by Sara Grillo)

A spring pro-Trump rally in Seaside Heights was a real eye opener. It showed just how misguided and uninformed some people can be.

According to that article the time and place was kept secret by rally organizers in an effort to keep protesters away. It appears these supposedly constitution-loving patriots have no problem with suppressing the free speech of those who don’t share their world view.

Of course suppressing opposing voices shows weakness rather than strength. It shows uncertainty about whether the vague promises and angry Trump rhetoric can withstand the challenge of critical assessment and the test of scrutiny.

Especially baffling were the comments of a gubernatorial candidate who hoped Trump could take the country back to a time 50 years ago when opportunities were equitable for all. Like many Trump supporters he views the past through rose colored glasses and the world of today as in disarray for which they blame liberals in general and President Obama specifically. But let’s take a look back 50 years.

Far from the golden age he suggests 1967 was a time of turmoil and unrest. Citizens were polarized on a divisive war and rallies to both support and oppose continued involvement in Vietnam were common. Racial tensions were high and riots broke out in cities across the country for, ironically, lack of equitable opportunities for all citizens.

We were reeling in the wake of two political assassinations and soon to suffer two more. It was a time of great social upheaval with forces committed to change at constant odds with those opposed to it. Hardly the time of harmony and stability the candidate’s words imply.

Of course this inaccurate look back is nothing new to conservatives who view the Reagan years as halcyon days for America. Somehow they forget the Iran-Contra Affair, the Savings and Loan Crisis brought on by his “laissez-faire” economics, the double digit interest rates faced by new mortgage holders and other less than ideal circumstances that were also part of Reagan’s legacy.

Should the candidate still choose to see those times as better, it bears noting that 50 years ago our president was Lyndon Johnson, one of the most liberal leaders in recent history. Ironic considering the vitriol directed at liberals by Trump supporters.

It has been wisely said that those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps what these would-be patriots need is to see the past for what it was, remarkably similar to the world of today. It would also help to remember history in an accurate manner before using it as a point of reference in the political debate.

Bill Pane


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