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Paul M. Deac, executive vice president of the National Confederation of American Ethnic Groups, which says it represents 18 million foreign-born and first-and second-generation Americans, expressed the especially virulent outrage of the poorer Middle Americans. "The professional liberals let the genie out of the bottle—racial hatred, lawlessness," says Deac. The backlash today is not so much against blacks per se as against black militancy and the white intellectuals: "The Moratorium was a stab in the back to our boys on the firing lines. Our families don't have long-haired brats—they'd tear the hair off them. Our boys don't smoke pot or raise hell or seek deferments. Our people are too busy making a living and trying to be good Americans."
Heroes and Villains
The gaps between Middle America and the vanguard of fashion are deep. The daughters of Middle America learn baton twirling, not Hermann Hesse. Middle Americans line up in the cold each Christmas season at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall; the Rockettes, not Oh! Calcutta! are their entertainment. While the rest of the nation's youth has been watching Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, Middle America's teen-agers have been taking in John Wayne for the second or third time in The Green Berets. Middle Americans have been largely responsible for more than 10,000 Christmas cards sent to General Creighton Abrams in Saigon. They sing the national anthem at football games—and mean it.
The culture no longer seems to supply many heroes, but Middle Americans admire men like Neil Armstrong and, to some extent, Spiro Agnew. California Governor Ronald Reagan and San Francisco State College President S. I. Hayakawa have won approval for their hard line on dissent. Before his death last year, Dwight Eisenhower was listed as the most admired man in the nation —and Middle America cast much of the vote. In death, John Kennedy is also a hero. Ironically, Robert Kennedy had the allegiance of much of Middle America along with his constituency of blacks and the young. Whatever their politics, both Kennedys had an idealism about America, a pride about it to which Middle Americans responded because they shared it.
Middle America's villains are less easily singled out. Yippie Abbie Hoffman or S.D.S. leaders like Mark Rudd are hardly important enough by themselves to constitute major devils. With such faceless groups as the Weathermen, they merely serve as symbols of all the radicals who pronounce the country evil and ripe for destruction. Disliked, too, are the vaguely identified "liberals" and "intellectuals" who are seen as sympathizing with the radicals. Perhaps the most authentic individual villains to Middle America are the Black Panther leaders, Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seale.
But there is a danger of oversimplifying both the loves and the hates of Middle America. Despite all the evidence of a shift to the right, Middle America for