Sunday, September 29, 2013
Oh how I remember that election. It was fraught with confusion, anger, and the press not sure who was the winner. That election was confused. What had happened that year was horrific from the Democratic Convention in Chicago with the mass beatings of protesters and the break up of that party to the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. There were riots all over. The war in Viet Nam was terrible. The death toll was always on the news. I grew up with the image of Viet Nam on the news. From the early 1960's onward it was a focal point of our lives and the stories of many soldiers coming back in body bags.
I watched the news that night till I fell asleep. It was said by many on the news that night that Humphrey would win. That Nixon would be defeated again for the office. This was the first election I really was focused on. We had a black and white TV with a 12 inch screen. Of course we used rabbit ears on the top of the TV to get the best reception. But our reception was always very snowy. People today do not understand what it was like on old TV's.. That you not only changed the channel by hand, but, after changing the channel you had to adjust the antenna to catch the signal. After that you needed to fine tune it. Often the best reception was when you were holding the rabbit ears. I saw this technology come into use during and after 9-11 when most of the stations were knocked off and Peter Jennings was transmitting on UHF.
I had figured when I went to bed that Humphrey had won. I kind of liked Humphrey and was looking forward to his presidency. I was not too impressed with Johnson, but I found him rather boring to watch. I did watch him make the statement that he would not be a candidate for office in 1968.
I went to bed and woke up to the news that Nixon would be the next President. I felt sorry for Humphrey. He was always a little short of a win for office...A prize he truly wanted, but would never have.
It is a little hard to conceive what it was like back then..It was a very different time and a very disrupted and divided country. That was truly on the brink of exploding. Within a few years it would all change.
1968 was one of the worst years in our countries history.