History may be doomed to repeat itself – if we’re lucky.
I have been reading (for what seems like half a lifetime, at this point) Neill Ferguson’s biography of Henry Kissinger. I know, but with most of my political cohort making crosses with their fingers to avert evil at the very mention of his name, I got curious. Who the hell is Henry Kissinger and when did he grow horns?
The book review will come soon. I am not writing about Henry today. I am, thanks to a long paragraph toward the end of the book that puts 1968 into nutshell, offering a ray of hope to our world as a whole. Because we have been here before.
Let Ferguson count of few of the ways from 1968:
James Earl Ray kills Martin Luther King
Sirhan Sirhan kills Bobby Kennedy
The Battle of Chicago
And that’s just at home. In the wider world:
The USSR crushes Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring
North Korea captures the USS Pueblo
An American ambassador gunned down in the streets of Guatemala City
The Tet Offensive
Hijackings and coups and yes, anti-immigration rhetoric
“I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.” Enoch Powell, British conservative MP
And we still had to survive Richard Nixon.
So where’s the hope?
Well, I don’t believe that history actually repeats itself as if going round and round in a static circle. Today is very much the same as yesterday…and yet yesterday was quite different from today.
We move on.
We take a step forward and elect Jimmy Carter.
We take half a step back and elect Ronald Reagan.
We take another step forward and elect Bill Clinton.
Another half step back for Bush 2.
A giant leap forward for Obama.
And then … why didn’t anybody tell us about that cliff?
At least that’s how this card-carrying Democrat sees it.
Trump won through such a bizarre combination of events (Russia, Electoral College, James Comey, to name but a few) that could only have been stitched together in the depths of hell, but if Richard Nixon could give way to a Jimmy Carter, then Donald Trump can give way to … something better. Even if it’s only out of the fire and back into the frying pan.