Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Personal Aside: Most Commentators AgreeGriswold Opened the Door to Legalized Abortion Defining Moment of the `60s No. 3the Tet Offensive.
All of the commentators I read before posting this agree that Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 was the open sesame that swung the door ajar to legalized abortion later in Roe v. Wade. I am particularly indebted to Matt Nelson for his views basis his constitutional law studies and Frank Nofsinger who comes right on with the same judgment. With this decision the Supreme Court ruled that sexual morals and their relation to family life are matters of personal taste and choice in which the state has no interest. The decision was, as reader Frank Nofsinger relates, like turning on a faucet.
There was a time when the Supreme Court defended the concept of the family in Judeo-Christian terms on the basis that the foundation of the republic assumed as much. Ergo: In 1895 Justice Joseph P. Bradley condemned polygamy as contrary to the spirit of Christianity and the civilization Christianity produced in the Western World. The statement was accepted as part of the fiber of jurisprudential review.
But following Griswold, in Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972 the Court reversed the Massachusetts conviction of William Baird for distributing contraceptives to unmarried persons, holding that whatever the rights of the individual to contraceptives may be, the rights must be the same for the unmarried and married alike. The marital couple is not an independent entity with a mind and heart of its own but an association of two individuals each with a separate intellectual and emotional makeup.
It added If the right of privacy means anythingenumerating the right that Justice Douglas had discovered rummaging around the penumbras and emanationsit is the right of the individual married or single to be free of unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child. Thus the Court treated marriage as a mere personal contract with the family no longer the natural, primary cell of human society that precedent Supreme Courts did. Before Griswold but waiting in the wings was a discovery by the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology at Clark University in Massachusetts that helped develop the contraceptive pill in 1956. The contraceptive pill must rank with the splitting of the atom which ultimately aided the Supreme Court to assume the role of custodian of life, ruling in Roe in 1973 that whatever a judicial majority agrees on binds the nation meaning that no one can say what is unjust because all is changing depending on the nose-counting of a Supreme Court majority.
Congratulations all. We now move to
Defining Moment of the `60s No. 3: the Tet Offensive.
Popular and Media Conclusion: Because America was obsessed with communism anent the domino effect, , first the Kennedy and then the Johnson administration blundered into a quagmire in the jungles of Vietnam which led to (a) the destruction of troop morale, (b) widespread drug abuse among the troops, (c) atrocities like the My Lai murders and (d) a generation of emotionally and psychologically scarred veterans. Also as an added fillip, the failure of America in Vietnam produced salutary things such as the reunification of Vietnam, a desirable thing. Such massacres that occurred after South Vietnams fall and in Cambodia was Americas fault for going there in the first place.
The Tet offensive of January, 1968 was a cardinal event because our defeat despite all we could do convinced the media and particularly CBSs Walter Cronkite that we should pull out. Two major reporters for The New York Times, David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan, led the outcry which influenced Cronkite. When Halberstam died earlier this year in an automobile crash, he was celebrated as a world famous journalist by the media with no mention that Tet was anything more than a disaster for the United States.
Eugene McCarthy who was running for president while losing to Lyndon Johnson in the New Hampshire nevertheless convinced Johnson and many others that the U. S. was drastically wrong to fight against an indigenously supported native civil war and dishonored the country with McCarthy being the first presidential candidate to propose the idea that it would not be bad if the United States were to lose the war to teach it a lesson. This was the same Eugene McCarthy who in trying to convince Johnson to name him as vice presidential nominee in 1964 pledged to defend the war. Spurned, he turned against Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, the war and which led ultimately to his estrangement from his wife, his Catholic heritage and served to render him a nihilist while in some liberal circles he has been canonized a hero.
The Vietnam experience has long been cited by those who oppose the Iraq War.
Your assignment: Tell us if the above assessment is right and has continued unchanged in recent history.