Barry Goldwater was widely considered to be sort of a hybrid between a loose cannon and an out-and-out nut when he ran for President in 1964. He lost in a remarkable landslide.
Today he is remembered with some affection as a conservative who, in many respects, went beyond dogma to morality.
His conservatism was not so much cultural, or racial, as it was libertarian.
He was solidly for abortion rights. Gay rights as well.
In 1993, he wrote to the New York Times advocating for gay people in the military:
You don’t need to be ‘straight’ to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.
He had no kind words for Jerry Falwell types.
I said all good Christians should kick him in the ass.
– Barry Goldwater, July, 1981
Well, he was direct.
Yeah, quite the lovable old fellow.
But I still remember 1964. Especially the Civil Rights Vote. As Senator, Barry Goldwater opposed it. He had nothing against black people. He just thought it was wrong to tell employers whom they could hire, and to tell hotels and restaurants and bus lines whom they must serve.
1964 was part of the season of violence against black people who wanted to vote and to be treated equally. Southern conservatives consigned still-warm corpses into secret shallow holes, decorated trees with cindered bodies, blew up churches, murdered little girls, beat peaceful protestors marching across bridges.
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