A deadly tra­di­tion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PANTELIS BOUKALAS

ly in re­spect to leg­isla­tive pol­icy tack­ling in­sti­tu­tional, not just per­sonal, racism in the states of the south. Nev­er­the­less, his pres­i­dency was marked by his de­ci­sion to em­broil the US in the Viet­nam War in Au­gust 1964. John­son’s ri­val in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions of Novem­ber 1964 was a po­lit­i­cal an­ces­tor of Don­ald Trump: the ul­tra­con­ser­va­tive busi­ness­man Barry Gold­wa­ter, a fer­vent op­po­nent of the fight against racism and so­cial wel­fare, and a cham­pion of im­me­di­ate, “rad­i­cal” so­lu­tions. His an­swer to Viet­nam? Sim­ple. Press the but­ton. Cuba? Sim­pler still. In­vade and oc­cupy. John­son’s re­sound­ing vic­tory with 61 per­cent of the vote was not just due to fear of his Repub­li­can op­po­nent’s ex- treme views but also to his prom­ises for peace and a so­ci­ety with­out racism, poverty and in­equal­ity. Peace, how­ever, was a long time com­ing and when it ar­rived it was bloody and de­feated on many fronts. As far as racism is con­cerned, it’s never been out of the pic­ture. Even the elec­tion of Barack Obama – twice – failed to act as a mile­stone to bring about a sea change. Proof lies in the killings of un­armed African Amer­i­cans by po­lice that ap­pear to con­tinue un­abated and, in most cases, with­out any se­ri­ous con­se­quences for the of­fend­ing of­fi­cers. The ease with which they pull out their guns and fire is not viewed as ter­ri­ble mis­con­duct or as a mas­sive vi­o­la­tion, but sim­ply as a con­tin­u­a­tion of

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