On March 31, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson ended a nationally televised address on the U.S. war raging in Vietnam, declaring, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

The announcement stunned the world.

Johnson had sent nearly half a million American troops to kill Vietnamese in the five years of his presidency. When he announced he would not run for reelection, more than 35.000 Americans and a million Vietnamese had died, ostensibly to stop communism “over there before it comes over here.”

At the time of the speech, Johnson was besieged.

Militarily, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had launched the Tet Offensive on January 31, the lunar New Year. The attack on the capital city, Saigon, and other cities in South Vietnam portended a dramatic escalation. On cue, the U.S. Joint Chiefs requested a quarter of a million more troops for the Southeast Asian inferno. Respected broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite reported “the bloody experience” of Vietnam would “end in a stalemate.”

Politically, peace candidate Eugene McCarthy won 42 percent of the vote in the March 12 New Hampshire primary, the first of the 1968 election. Five days later, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, brother of the assassinated president, entered the Democratic primary as an anti-war candidate. Johnson served as vice president under John F. Kennedy.

Public opinion raged against the U.S. war in Southeast Asia. On April 4, 1967, civil rights leader Martin Luther King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” In October, 30,000  protestors marched on the Pentagon, the icon of the American. killing machine.

Demonstrators chanting “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” followed Johnson everywhere.

Johnson dropped out of the 1968 presidential campaign five months before the Democratic nominating convention in Chicago. The popularity of the incumbent president was at 36 percent.

You Can’t Hide, You Support Genocide

In five months, the Democrats will again hold their presidential nominating convention in Chicago. The popularity of incumbent president Joe Biden in February was 37 percent, only one point higher than the popularity of Johnson 56 years ago.

Protestors chanting “Joe Biden, you can’t hide! You support genocide!” haunt the president from the streets of San Francisco to the front gates of the White House.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden signaled he would be a one-term, caretaker president. When he reneged, no viable Democrat mustered the courage to challenge the unpopular, incumbent president.

Now, Americans face the Faustian choice the U.S. political system has coughed up: insurrectionist Donald Trump or genocidaire Joe Biden.

With Biden and the U.S. as co-conspirators in genocide, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and his government, since the 10/7 Hamas military attack on Israel, have annihilated 33,077 Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, including more than 13,000 children,  8,400 women, and civilian men. The remains of thousands more Palestinians lie under the rubble of their homes.

Hamas and other forces have killed 1,139 people in Israel since 10/7. According to Israel, Hamas captured 230 civilian and military hostages on 10/7. As of March 24, Israel says Hamas holds 99 hostages and the bodies of 35 others taken hostage.

A  million people flee from northern Gaza to southern Gaza and back to northern Gaza, seeking illusionary safety from the incessant Israeli bombing of the 25-mile-long, 3-mile-wide strip.

The U.S.-Israel slaughter follows the surprise October 7 attack when Hamas fighters, riding motorcycles, para-gliders, motorboats, and jeeps, crossed forbidden boundaries separating Gaza from Israel. The two-pronged mission of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood:  hit military targets and capture hostages to exchange for the thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

With U.S. bombs and blessings, in less than six months, Israel has leveled Gaza—homes, schools and universities, mosques, hospitals, and libraries, burying the history and hopes of a people living under Israeli control for decades.

Instead of curtailing the carnage by leveraging the $3.8 billion military aid the U.S. gives Israel every year, Biden pushed for additional billions in supplemental aid and surreptitiously sent Israel more drones,  bombs, fighter jets, and missiles. Israeli forces gleefully drop the bombs on Palestinian children as birthday gifts to their own children.

As a propagandist, Biden parrots the lies Israeli officials fabricated about Hamas beheading babies and raping women on 10/7. The U.S. provides Israel with intel, facilitating the “indiscriminate” murder of Palestinian doctors, lawyers, professors, aid workers, poets, writers, and artists.

Israeli forces have killed more than 100  journalists and media workers, silencing the messengers who share the voices and images of the U.S./Israeli devastation of Gaza.

As the world watches Israelis kill tens of thousands of Palestinian children in real-time, the U.S. representative at the U.N. vetoed three permanent ceasefire resolutions. In plain sight, Biden runs political cover for Netanyahu to carry out his murderous rampage.

As the first primaries approached at the end of February, a cavalier Biden mused to reporters about a possible ceasefire while licking an ice cream cone.

On Saturday, March 23, Congress passed and Biden signed a ban on funding the United Nations refugee relief agency providing food, water, and medicine to the 2.2 million people Israel has locked by law and logistics into an open air concentration camp. Palestinians, who have managed to survive the bombings and blockades, are now starving and dying from the U.S./Israeli-imposed famine.

Biden thought few would care about the mass murder of Arabs living in a strip of land controlled by the U.S. ally in the Middle East, but massive protests throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East since 10/7 prove otherwise.

American Muslims for Palestine say 400,000 demonstrators attended the March on Washington for Gaza January 13. Two thousand protestors clad in black t-shirts with white letters reading “Jews Say Ceasefire Now, Not in Our Name,” organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, shut down Grand Central Station in New York City. Rabbis for Ceasefire held services on the DC mall. Code Pink activists, hands bloodied with red paint, confront warmakers in the hallways and hearing rooms of Congress. Protestors with signs scrawled with the hashtag “Butcher Biden” greet the president at big donor events.

Children of Holocaust survivors, Palestinian youth, doctors, and justice activists shouting “blood is on your hands” and “shame on you” disrupted the March 28 gala fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, featuring Biden and former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Aaron Bushnell, a 25-year-old active duty Air Force cyber defense  specialist, whose job was to collect intel for military operations, set himself on fire in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. on February 25. Bushnell live-streamed his desperate act. Among his final words, “I will no longer be complicit in genocide.”

Since October, massive numbers of peaceful demonstrators for Palestinian freedom and equality have filled the streets from Barcelona to Belfast to Beirut.

Dream Reveals Truth

Johnson, who repeatedly assured Americans the United States was winning the war in Vietnam, attributed his decision to withdraw from the presidential campaign to the divisiveness in the country.

A dream revealing the truth about the war in Vietnam may have cemented his decision.

Doris Kearns Goodwin recounts the dream in her biography, Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream: Johnson “saw himself swimming in a river. He was swimming from the center toward one shore. He swam and swam, but he never seemed to get any closer.”

The historian wrote Johnson realized in the weeks after the dream the “total impossibility of his situation.” She suggests the river in the dream was the Pedernales, near his Texas childhood home and reflected family dynamics.

A month before the televised address, Pete Seeger performed “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” on the Smothers Brother Comedy Hour broadcast on CBS. Although the lyrics—“We were neck deep in the Big Muddy/And the big fool said to push on”—capture a 1942 platoon incident in Louisiana, the song evokes images of U,S. troops, laden with military gear, sloshing across the Mekong River on their way to destroy villagers in the rice paddies of the Delta.

Will  Disgust Trump Fear?

Biden is counting on fear of a second Trump term to defeat the former president, but for tens of thousands, Biden has crossed a psycho-spiritual red line. They will stay home or vote third party, securing a Trump victory and precipitating huge losses for Democrats in local races and House and Senate contests.

At the ballot box, a spontaneous, grassroots campaign encourages voters to mark “uncommitted” in Democratic primary races to express their disgust with the Biden policy enabling the mass murder of Palestinians. The effort garnered  100,000 votes in the February 27 Michigan Democratic primary. Biden beat Trump by only 154,188 votes in the must-win state in 2020. “Uncommitted” is racking up double-digit percentages in other states like Minnesota.

If he drops out now, Biden could evade the personal humiliation Hillary Clinton suffered when she lost to Donald Trump in 2016. But to avoid a Democratic defeat, Biden must avoid the mistakes made 56 years ago.

In his Vietnam speech, Johnson pledged to “substantially” reduce bombing North Vietnam in exchange for peace negotiations. However, Orwellian peace-through-war speak littered his remarks, and he failed to call for a ceasefire.

Most of all, Johnson failed to acknowledge the message of his dream—the United States could not win the war in Vietnam. Instead, he spoke of troop levels, monetary costs, and victory.

The war and violence in Vietnam continued in the months before the nominating convention. So, too, did the protests, the demonstrations, the anger.

Democratic mayor Richard Daly militarized the police. The National Guard, other federal troops, and the police battled and bloodied thousands of anti-war protestors outside the convention hall.

Inside, Senator Abraham Ribicoff, former governor of Connecticut, told the delegates, “With George McGovern as president of the United States, we wouldn’t have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago.”

Instead of a peace candidate, the Democrats nominated Hubert Humphrey, vice president of the war administration. He lost to Richard Nixon, the Republican presidential nominee, by less than one percent of the vote but 191-302 in the Electoral College.

Nixon extended the war another four years and expanded the killing into Laos and Cambodia, doubling the death and destruction. The U.S. finally pulled out of the quagmire in Southeast Asia in 1975, ending the 13-year-long war.


If Biden dropped out and promoted a peace candidate, he would take a step toward redeeming his complicity in the murderous, soul-crushing U.S.-Israel in Gaza. He would take a history-making step toward redeeming himself and the blood-soaked programs and policies he helped shape for the past 40 years. He would set a course for peace with justice for all.

The Democrats hold their presidential nominating convention in Chicago in five months, August 19-22.

Joyce Lynn is a journalist and author of two books on the power of dreams ( Her forthcoming book is TRUTH: Dreams Reveal Rising Tide of Fascism Engulfing America (Plum Dreams Media, 2024).

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PHOTO CAPTION: Genocide Joe Appears at March4Gaza, January 13, 2024 in Washington, D.C.. Photo © Chuck Modi. Used with permission