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America in the Sixties: A Most Interesting Decade

By Larry Porter

Copyright 2018 Larry Porter

Smashword Edition

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The Sixties

The decade opened with TV debates
And ended with a horrible massacre.
It represented the country's fate,
The good, the bad; these stories occurred.

This decade provided dichotomies
Hardly seen in just one decade.
Setting up numerous coteries,
They each carried their own grenades.

The fifties had their problems, of course,
But mostly people worked as one.
The Cold War gave the reason, perforce.
They'd hardly believe the divisions to come.


In sixty, a new buck entered the race,
Running against “Landslide Lyndon.”
Senator Johnson came late in the chase,
Thinking, by then, young Kennedy was done.

But he missjudged Jack Kennedy's charm,
Thinking he'd cause a Party division.
LBJ planned to attack and disarm
This young one, using political precision.

He came too late to the Party's big dance.
Jack Kennedy won on the very first ballot.
But Kennedy gave him a second chance,
Using Johnson's political talent.

They ran together, made the Democrat's slate,
Against Nixon, Eisenhower's former VP.
Nixon chose as his running mate,
Henry Lodge, who knew foreign policy.

With new technology at their beckon call,
Television provided a most unique occasion.
The candidates debated with cameras installed.
The chance was there to address the whole nation.

The TV debates didn't go too well,
As Nixon bumbled several facts.
His people told him he looked swell,
But on TV, makeup, the man lacked.

However the vote was the closest since sixteen,
The popular vote was point seventeen percent.
But Kennedy won the electors he needed,
To become the thirty-fifth president.

Through circumstances in sixty-three,
Johnson became the President.
In sixty-four he was the nominee;
His opponent seemed heaven sent.

Barry Goldwater, from Arizona,
A long-standing Senator, opinionated.
Many thought his extreme persona
would certainly get him eliminated.

Vietnam under Johnson was gathering steam.
But Goldwater was ready to nuke Southeast Asia.
The voters thought he was much too extreme,
And so, gave Johnson, an historical invasion.

Goldwater carried just six of the states;
Thirty-eight percent of the electoral vote.
Johnson's landslide allowed him dictates,
Which he used for his story of Vietnam boats.

The joke went around as the War exploded,
That “lucky for us Goldwater lost.
If he had won,” the skeptics unloaded,
“We might be at war. My goodness, the cost!”

By the time of the sixty-eight elections,
Johnson had lost his political base.
The people were seeing through months of deception
There was no way he could avoid disgrace.

Johnson also had another challenge
From JFK's little brother, Bobby.
Being John's AG gave him an advantage.
Besides, he'd no hand in the War folly.

Johnson knew, against another Kennedy,
The campaign would become tough enough.
That, combined with the War's identity,
Left him knowing he was in the rough.

Unfortunately Kennedy never had a chance
To seriously challenge LBJ.
Sirhan Sirhan stopped Robert's advance,
With one bullet, he took him away.

Even without Bob Kennedy running,
Johnson knew the public had enough.
With protests and war, nightly news was stunning,
He knew winning was beyond tough.

He resigned from the race, left it to Humphrey,
His VP, to hold up the Democrats' slate.
Humphrey chose Maine's Senator Muskie
As VP to run in sixty-eight.

Nixon came back to try one last time,
Bringing with him, Maryland's governor.
Both Agnew and Nixon seemed want to do crimes.
Though they won ,each left their office dishonored.

Nixon won by promising voters
A quick end to the Vietnam War.
It turned out he was just a promoter.
It churned on for six years more.


The youngest man elected President,
At forty-three, also had,
People questioning another precedent,
“Would a Catholic president be bad?”

He won, but one wonders if he really did.
The three years he spent in the office,
Were nary the prize his dad wished on the kid.
The crises had to make JFK nauseous.

Before he took office, Eisenhower told
Of a plan put in place to invade Cuba.
In fifty-nine, Castro led a revolt.
And this plan seemed written by Russia's Duma.

Bay of Pigs

The Bay of Pigs was its moniker.
In truth it should have been left in that bay.
Kennedy seemed more set on his chronicler,
Than on the military's actions in play.

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