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The Seventies BlogPost 11/4

This chapter described striking similarities between the 1970s politics and culture and our modern-day cultures, like personal dealings with corporations in the government, tensions between the executive and congressional branch, but also described striking differences in party unification and government involvement. The movie, Frost/Nixon, helped make this time period, and the people listed in Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, more realistic as I am able to see their reactions, voices, and tendencies. One point that I thought was brought up more in the movie than in the book was the importance of the media to bring “truth” or coverage for the people, which helped mobilize social and political action. 

Although I feel like there is less direct corporate involvement in our government today compared to the 1970s or the 2010s, I still see it as a similar parallel between the 1970s and today. I thought the conspiracy with ITT and oil companies highlighted a huge problem that was not ultimately fixed with the resolvent of the Nixon administration which was the immense personal involvement individuals had while working for the US or for the president. I think this followed into the 1980s in government and in corporate it because it was decided not to dismantle the system around Nixon but just the people as explained on page 546. Theodore Sorensen stated, “Some structural changes are needed. All the rotten apples should be thrown out. But save the barrel.” To me, this continues to show the prioritization of individual desires in a job meant to be a public servant. 

As I was only born in 2002 and have only understood politics from approximately 2016 onwards, I was surprised to read about how the parties were a more unified government entity that was embedded in similar corruption against the people, rather than what we have today. I can never picture a situation in the United States where our two parties were unified probably because I have almost never experienced that phenomenon, as the parties today use corrupt methods to hurt each other instead which hurts all of the American people. One interesting difference in these fights is how international relations were utilized. Although I should not have been surprised, the amount of foreign “proxy-wars” and “proxy-violence” during these years was outstanding to me. The operations with the Chilean government, the plot to kill Castro of Cuba, the work with the Lai Massacre, work against national groups like the Socialist Workers Party, and the Black Panthers, and probably many more, were used as under-the-radar ways to establish American dominance after (and during) the failure of the Vietnam War. Today, our political parties will instead enlist international help to prove a national point rather than using international fights to prove an international point, which I think can be even more dangerous.

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  1. Carly Cohen Carly Cohen

    Personally, I believe there is more corporate involvement today and more recently than in previous times. I think dark money is much more prevalent and a lot of candidates and high level political figures have a lot of under the table negotiations and deals that the people do not hear about. The more corporations spend on a candidate or political figure, the more they will want in return, which can become very dangerous.

  2. Annie Waters Annie Waters

    I think your point about the media’s involvement in public awareness of political issues has a lot of significance today. President Trump is very passionate about denouncing inaccurate or dishonest media coverage, and this tendency leads me to question the contrasting motives of the media and the government. Strategically, it makes a lot of sense for the government to try to discredit the criticism they gain from the media, but how much might this interfere with the public’s understanding of political issues?

  3. Julia Leonardi Julia Leonardi

    Yes. It is also crazy for me to think that at one point politics weren’t so polarized. We live in a world where people don’t listen to each other and they blindly follow whatever political party they hate the least. I hope that we move in a different direction but it doesn’t seem like that will be happening.

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