Vol. 34 No. 1 1967 - page 43

on the seven o'clock news each night, and know he is lying again, does
more damage to us than any specific policy. I don't know whether Robert
Kennedy would end the war, wage a more grass-rootsy War on Poverty,
or send more federal registrars into the rural South, but I do think his
intelligence, candor, wit and activism would have a beneficial effect. His
(or John Lindsay's) style and character could unify, inspire, energize
people, rather than disgust, alienate and embarrass them. The System,
since only a fraction of its decision-making power is democratically elect–
ed, would limit any President; but Johnson's low personal character and
morality are exacerbating the crisis.
4. No. I think America-like most nation-states (Israel, the Soviet
Union, South Africa) -is racist in some degree. By racist I mean speci–
fically that Julian Bond would have been allowed his Vietnam dissent
he were not black, Adam Powell allowed his corruption if he were
not black, Muhammad Ali allowed his loquaciousness if he were not
black. Negroes are treated differently in America because whites set the
reality, from Snow White to devil's food cake. Therefore I think white
America's commitment to black equality stops at the point that commit–
ment intercepts its own self-interest. Once, at the time of the March on
Washingon, white America was committed to full equality, when the
issue was moral and Southern. Now it is national and economic, and white
self-interest has dissolved that majority. Riots and Stokely's rhetoric have
helped, but basically America is racist. I think the ghetto situations will
get worse, Negro unemployment continue twice as high as white unem–
ployment, and the big cities become more and more cages for the poor.
The civil rights movement was a reform movement that failed. The back–
lash is now, I fear, a permanent fixture in our body politic. It may take
an American equivalent of the Sharpsville massacre, in Atlanta, Birming–
or Oakland, to make the Negro once again the victim instead of the
perceived executioner. It is only as victims that America can accept the
6. My only instinct here is to chant "Amen" to Mailer's prophesy:
"There is a shitstorm coming." The war, inflation, riots, alienation, af–
fluence, are pushing the country to the right. The freedom movement is
bloodied and the struggle now seems to be to prevent the erosion of
gains already secured. The War on Poverty seemed an election gimmick
from the start, and the more conservative 1967 Congress will only rip
away the mask of rhetoric. Almost all of America's moral capital in the
Western democracies is being squandered by our Vietnam policy. Johnson
seems to have no program except the Marines to cope with the inevitable
revolts in Latin America. I think there will be continued ghetto upheavals
and anti-war protests, and these, in tum, will only serve to energize the
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