Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
A reply to Mr. Wilbert McClendon; not because he will listen (he won’t) but because someone has to maintain the balance:
Mr. McClendon: You said one right thing in your article and that was that some of the white people who protest the war in Vietnam are phony. Actually, you didn’t even say that right because you said they were ALL phony and that, Mr. McClendon, is ridiculous. There are a great many white protesters who are not phony. They have rallied in support of the Negro cause and that cause is much more honest and meaningful because of them. But even the phony white protesters are not harmful.
They are, as you indicated, useless except as yes men and mere volume. They do not add to the ever-increasing toll of human violence.
But you, Mr. McClendon, represent a human archetype. You said you would “kill, rob, cheat or die.” for your cause. I believe you would. But I do not believe you will. You are too intelligent, know too many words and, I believe, want to be around to enjoy some results.
Violence and death does not further the cause of justice or Negroes or Vietnam one bit. History is one long chronicle of human violence and you, Mr. McClendon, are another in a very long list of perpetuators of that violence.
You may be able to handle your words but you should know that a great many people and situations cannot. It is true that most of the changes we have been able to effect have been brought about by “death, violence, suffering and TREASON.” (as you put it). But death, violence, suffering and treason are what it’s all about and they are still here. The human condition, Mr. McClendon, has gotten, in fact, worse. It is, than, time for a new approach and your support of violence, death and really, revenge, is not a new approach.
Vietnam and the war there would continue without the individuals you named, Mr. McClendon. But for once you did not generalize enough: Vietnam is not a “white war.” Vietnam is another human war.
Your own cause, Mr. McClendon, the Negro cause, would, take a giant step forward if Negroes would embrace those honest white supporters who want for Negroes and themselves exactly what you want.
It is time intelligent people like yourself embraced active non-violence and supported the true equality of ALL human beings and put to rout revenge and the perpetuation of violence.
Perhaps even you and I could be friends, Mr. McClendon.
To The Fifth Estate:
The “spirit” of Detroit has car sales for wings but included among its features for high altitude emergencies in love and war is an underground for a parachute and the Fifth Estate to show it where to pull the string.
Intellectually Detroit is an assembly line with automotive savants for foremen and the 2 major dailies for stenographers. But the Fifth Estate-bonded underside of Detroit contributes to product improvement with competition and is in the delicate business of making parts.
Were it not for the existence of a paper like the Fifth Estate and its continuous airing of certain issues, its fresh way of looking at movies and the space it provides for news of crucial organizations and how to find them, interest in these matters might wane and be forever lost in the Time-Life mass media digestion machine; Vice-President Humphrey might never own a dry handkerchief for the rest of his days.
What a state the world would be in if it rested in the hands of your clique.
You publish pictures of deprived Vietnamese children but protest against soldiers fighting so that they might have the opportunities that you had. Then you claim that you are patriotic, you give other countries a picture of off-beats who cannot shave.
Let me remind you or educate you of the after effects of taking a drug. China declined when her population became addicted to opium, and what do you think would happen here. But thank God there are still young men and women who go to school for the sake of an education. While you will be on the Welfare supported by these, they will be living comfortably with a content mind.
The following letter was sent to the President by a Fifth Estate reader.
Lyndon B. Johnson
President of The United States of America
The White House
Washington, D. C. 20500
Greetings, Mr. President:
This is an answer to the letter I recently received from you ordering me to report for induction into the United States Army. You can take that draft notice and shove it up your ass.
I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I do not believe in you. I do not vote for candidates full of shit, I do not pay taxes to war mongers, I do not wear the uniform of a killer. I am a man.
You murdered a good friend of mine. He was exhausted. All his life he fought for his humanity against the evil institutions of this society and at twenty one years he was an old man, too weary to fight the draft. They mailed him home from Vietnam in a casket.
You broke the heart of another good friend. He was religious. He told the Army he could not serve because it violated the teachings of his God, Jesus the Christ. For three years he rotted in prison.
I am not tired and I am not an idealist. You shall have to capture me.
How do you sleep at night, Mr. President? Are you haunted by the ghosts of the men and women and children you have murdered? Do your dreams echo with their death cries? Do you believe in a justice beyond the grave? How about reincarnation? Wouldn’t it be droll if you came back in your next life as a virus, a reptile, or a starving yellow man whose destiny is to be burned alive for his hunger.
The next time you walk down a street in America look deeply into the eyes of the people and you shall see me.
Yours in wrath,