Saturday, 4 July 2020

honor america day

Though intentionally apolitical nearly to the point of obfuscation and denial, the Fourth of July celebrations held in Washington, DC in 1970 branded as Honor America Day could not ultimately separate themselves from the milieu of war and social injustice and incivility that it tried to rise above.
Richard Nixon’s milquetoast and hardly objectionable gala, orchestrated by hotel magnate J Willard Marriott, secured universal and neutral celebrities like astronaut Frank Borman, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Glen Campbell, et al—though to pull back the curtain a bit all were at least ostensibly supportive of the expanding war in Vietnam that had crept into Laos and Cambodia and had resulted in massacres domestically, at least to the point where they could be reliably trusted not to turn on the hosts and protest.
Unlike the pomp and pageantry of Nürnburger rallies of recent years, this asymmetrically white and mainstream celebration was not meant to cause more division than was already baked into the ongoing tensions but inevitably attracted protests and counter-protests. Conservatives, neo-Nazis, members of the religious-right plus the so called Silent Majority clashed and the event ended in tear-gas.