One of the constants in our society, Politics has undergone a myriad amount of changes, even since this broadcast was first aired. In 1960 we were in the midst of a Cold War, but we were also in the midst of great Social changes; the demographic was getting younger. The Baby Boom generation was at the threshold of coming-of-age and active participation in our political system, just as every generation before had done. Only this time the generation was considerably larger and potentially more vocal. But in 1960 we were still in the midst of the Eisenhower Years; that time of comparative peace and prosperity; the growth of the mobile society, the dawn of introspection and the questioning of values. Civil Rights, a much talked-about-but-seldom-acted-on subject had become the subject of Supreme Court decisions which forever changed the Political playing field and ushered in a new era of violence and intolerance as old customs gradually became outmoded and new ones introduced and fought over.
In this one hour portion of a 90 minute series of documentaries called Image America, our Political System in 1960 was under scrutiny and our two-part system was being examined as ideologies and social mores changed and evolved.
How does the political atmosphere of 1960 compare to that of 2017? It would be safe to say there is very little resemblance between the ideologies of 1960 and the rhetoric of today. For one thing, what is gone is the ritual, the decorum, the civility of the political process. America may have been divided even in 1960, but the divisions have only deepened over the years, creating for the most part unreachable consensus between Americans.
There are a number of familiar voices as well as voices belonging to those who aren’t even recognized today. But the fact remains the same; Americans of Voting age have always had the right and the obligation to the ballot box – and how that pans out in the coming months or years with our current storm of controversy is anyone’s guess.
All we can do is hope that things work out.
Here is that documentary; Politics USA from Image America, first broadcast on April 7, 1960.
Caveat – There are some over-the-top music cues to contend with. Making a point in 1960 was a lot different than making a point in 2017. Just don’t let it be a turn-off – they were trying to make a point then.