The first U.S. peacetime draft was inaugurated on this day in 1940. I suppose controversies over draft resistance are at most a fading memory now, but it sure was a big deal for my sub-generation, the last (so far) to experience conscription. Here’s a real period piece: from the Smothers Brothers show in 1969, an obscure band of antiwar pseudo-mimes (yes, mimes) called The Hello People lip-synching a fine folky song, “Anthem,” about being jailed for draft resistance.
Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.
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