LBJ diatribes disrespect troops, civil rights activists
Imagine my surprise when reading the April 19 Herald opinion page and learning that President Johnson was responsible for the majority of the 53,000-plus American dead in the Vietnam war. Even more surprising was the fact they died as a result of the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act!
Perhaps there are those of you who may not be old enough to remember or appreciate the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Or in case some of us who were around then may have forgotten, the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It also outlawed unequal application of voter rights, as well as racial segregation in schools, the workplace and all public facilities.
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At the time of the signing into law of the 1964 CRA, there were men, women and children dying in the streets of America in an attempt to enjoy those "certain inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" promised in the Constitution to all Americans, yet denied to many!
Now the letter writer has discovered that LBJ promised to escalate the war in Vietnam if supporters of the war would in turn vote for approval of the 1964 CRA. The premise being the president traded the lives of American soldiers in order to gain civil rights for black folks!
Not only is this disrespectful to the troops, but also a blatant racial attack on those who participated in the struggle for their rights.
The trouble started when President Obama made a speech last week recognizing LBJ and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Now, suddenly the Internet is abuzz with anti-LBJ sentiment. One report issued from the bowels of the blogosphere pictured him as "one who would lace up the sandals of the Antichrist!"
Is this who we have become?
James T. Lester