Annie Kayner’s letter (6/17) misses the point of Alex Li’s letter entirely, and sounds more than a little defensive.
Yes, tens of thousands of people were drafted and/or sent to Vietnam, but millions of people protested the war.
And yes, in many cases, those soldiers came home to further troubles, but millions of Baby Boomers had already moved on and, cliche as it sounds, sold out. So sure, they “stopped the war,” but that was only one battle. What about helping those vets? What about the racist systems that grabbed up a disproportionate number of black and brown people to be fed into the war machine? Where were those millions of people then?
Too many of them patted themselves on the back and then hopped into their “beautifully designed cars” and retreated to their all-white suburbs to listen to some “kick-ass music.” Racism, sexism, environmental ruin and economic inequality have festered right along ever since. Of course, those are all the things that maintain the racist system that benefits white people, so there was a lot of silence from those (white) millions for many, many years. (Trump changed that — temporarily.)
To sum up: Within a short period of time, Jerry Rubin went from being a Yippie counterculture icon to being a multimillionaire stockbroker. Millions of white anti-war protesters followed the path he blazed — the one of least resistance.