By John Ruberry
This year could end up being the most tumultuous year since 1968. During that year there was of course a heated presidential election, the Democrats nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who represented the status quo, one that was not especially popular. The Republicans chose a former vice president, Richard Nixon, whose critics decried as someone who presented a dark vision of America. Sound familiar?
Missing of course in 2016 is a third-party presidential candidate who can win electoral votes; in 1968 avowed segregationist and renegade Democrat George Wallace fed on racial discord–and there is plenty of that this year, most of it brought on by leftist groups such as Black Lives Matter, which seems very keen on protesting the rare shootings of African-American criminal suspects but is largely on silent on the daily carnage in cities such as Chicago, where so far this weekend over thirty people, most of them black, have been shot. In most of these shootings it’s very likely that other blacks pulled the trigger.
What is largely forgotten about the 1968 election is that it was the first presidential contest since Reconstruction in which a southern blacks voted in large numbers.
We’ve progressed far.
The penultimate year of the turbulent 1960s also brought us the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War, North Korea’s seizure of the USS Pueblo, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King–the anger from the latter caused dozens of deadly riots in American cities–the May Insurrection in France, and the turmoil of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
I’m sure I overlooked something.
This year has seen several deadly Islamist terrorist attacks, including last month’s Orlando night club shooting and the Nice, France truck killings, two assassination tragedies–one in Dallas and the other in Louisiana–where multiple police officers were killed, “Brexit,” Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the attempted coup in Turkey, and of course the frenzied US presidential campaign.
Remember: We still have five more months in 2016.
On the positive end, the Apollo 8 mission brought the moon within reach at the end of 1968.
Let’s hope 2016 ends with good news.
Oh, it was also in late 1968 when Star Trek’s “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode aired. Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura delivered American television’s first kiss between a black and a white, and this embrace was not an innocent peck on the cheek.
As Mitch Albom wrote in Tuesdays With Morrie, “Love wins. Always.”
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. And yes, he was alive in 1968.