Silent Majority

Silent Majority

President Nixon’s “Silent Majority Speech” November 3, 1969

Reading time – 58 seconds  .  .  .

Donald Trump has resurrected the term “silent majority” and I must take issue with both a directly stated and an implied message.

To my recollection, the term “silent majority” was coined by Richard Nixon in the late 1960s as code for “real, patriotic Americans,” in contrast to those who spoke out against the Viet Nam war, Lyndon Johnson and then Nixon. Those not in the silent majority were, apparently, a non-silent minority, with all that implies. That labeling was an “other-ing”, a way to divide Americans from one another and suggest that those who protested that awful war were unpatriotic. It seems that we humans always need a boogeyman, someone who is worse, so that we can feel better about ourselves. We are manipulated so easily.

For the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency that kind of rhetoric proved most useful to him, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of that administration who went to “the Dark Side,” as Cheney put it. That is to say, if you disagreed with them, especially in their lust for war in Iraq and for torturing prisoners, then you were unpatriotic. Worse, they said, if you disagreed, then you didn’t support our troops. Cheney has reiterated that sentiment about President Obama frequently. It’s quite a leap to jump from disagreeing with the administration to not supporting the troops. So, I don’t like the term “silent majority,” as though most Americans think that the Iraq war was a good idea or that torturing is okay. The term is a false and destructive divider. And I’ve yet to hear any American speak out against our troops. Quite the contrary: support of our military people is nearly universal.

I travel quite a bit and more than once I have been among the people in airports who  have stopped and applauded service men and women as they walk to or from their airplanes. I was at a lunch counter at an airport when a fellow in uniform sat near me. The guy immediately to his left reached out his hand and thanked him for his service. This goes on all the time – as it should – and there is nothing silent or even political about it. It’s simply Americans of all political stripes honoring those who wear the uniform and has nothing to do with the slimy manipulation politicians use as a false divider in order to promote themselves.

So, Mr. Trump, put a sock in it. The same goes for all the rest of the political manipulators. Just put a sock in it.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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2 Responses to Silent Majority
  1. Dominick Reply

    Those who are sent to invade other nations to protect the business interests of our corporations still retain a measure of respect from me. This is because most of them have honest intentions and believe they are doing the right thing. Unfortunately, they are only considered as pawns by those elected who send them into harm’s way for their political/business objectives. What happens to them when they return with missing limbs and mental conditions that lead them to commit more suicides than their loss of life in battle is a national disgrace.

    This is why I continue to try to inform the American voter that our government leaders, especially those responsible for conducting wars, are an immoral minority of political mercenaries. We continue to allow these positions of power to be held by individuals without personal integrity or accountability to the American people.

  2. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I’m guilty. I cannot tell a lie. I am guilty. I have thanked many service personnel that I have run into throughout the Los Angeles area and in airports across the country, especially those wearing multiple stripes just above their cuffs (indicating 4 years of service for each stripe).

    I had such an opportunity when I visited the West Los Angeles post office (in the Federal building). As I was walking in from the parking lot I met an Army Master Sergeant with seven (that’s 7) stripes on his sleeve — do the math. I stopped him — in the middle of the driveway entrance — shook his hand, thanked him for his many years of service and wished him well during the remainder of his service and of his life. By my reckoning he more than deserved whatever bit of recognition one person could give him. The meeting lasted a shorter time than it will take for you to read this comment, but I’m VERY glad that I did it.

    I hope others will do the same. These service people, just like the Master Sergeant, have earned our respect and praise.