When Pearl Harbor happened I was completing the first semester of my sophomore college year. Except for accident of gender, I would have been long gone from Iowa City. Many college men did not wait for the draft to call their number, because they felt volunteering would give them a better shot at Officers' Candidate School. I spent most of my college years with about 100 civilian men enrolled--they, foreign students or disabled.
Despite segregation of the sexes women were dedicated to being helpful in the war effort. I carried ice water to thirsty patients in the University Hospital and took my turn to leave off a pint of blood when asked. There were military training units taking up facilities, Pre-Flight Officers Training School being one. Undoubtedly some such school is where George H. W. Bush got his start.
Finally the day of bells and whistles came. I already held reservations to visit family before starting a new job in Washington D.C. The toot on the power plant at the Engineering Building was mixed with churches ringing jubilantly. For the next two days I subsisted on dry sandwiches sold by the local hotel since all stores were closed. Such started a new way of life in the US.
World War II veterans like Senators Kennedy and Nixon made brownie points on the campaign trail by touting their service records. In the case of the above mentioned men, their timing was determined as much by slim vote margins as it was by their argumentation over prevention of communist influence.
We would like to think that most Boomers ended up in office after campaigning for better recovery from the war. In fact Red Scare was the fear factor of the time.
This is background to some of the dirtiest infighting since the mid Forties. The short word is McCarthyism. What happened then between such actors as Hiss and Chambers, or between Nixon and more sane civilians is still to be analyzed. In a background against "the Soviet problem."
Could I ask the reader/writer here to do me a favor?
Would you tell us what McCarthyism means to you? It's my opinion we will not get past the futile carping over persons like Palin and Beck until we delve into that part of history. While mamas and papas were building their nests, there were those in Washington out to eradicate a hornet's nest too virulent to handle. To this day comes a rebuttal against Russian socialism, communism--or sometimes Bankers' capitalism.
Please give meaning to modern rants and whines. And remember to think about how we turned on each other long before Dick Cheney was ready to add his tactics.