Was 1968 the Worst Year in America Since the Civil War?
When people ask if I’ve ever seen anything like what’s happening today, my stock answer is 1968. We had two assassinations, anti-war protesters in the streets, cities torched and burning, and thousands of young men coming home in body bags from a war everybody hated but couldn’t end. There are parallels between then and now, a feeling of apocalypse with an old order breaking down, of events spinning out of control. Fifty years ago, a generation of young protesters challenged our institutions, and our government. Today, the president is the one defying norms, testing the limits of his power as we rely on those same institutions to stay strong—our courts, the Congress, and the media.