Interesting dynamic I’m experiencing right now. As most of you have already surmised, I cast my ballot for the Republican candidate in the 2020 Presidential election. And, as you undoubtedly know, we still have an incumbent President unwilling to concede because of multiple claims of voter/voting fraud. Dead voters, fake voters, double voters, illegal voters, hacked voting machines and (wait for it) “foreign interference.” To counter these claims, Democrats have responded with a response of incredulity that anyone could possibly think there was fraud involved in an American election, and call any such claims “baseless.”
But that’s not the election I’m talking about…
60 years ago, John F. Kennedy won what was, at the time, one of the closest presidential elections in American history. It has long been speculated that Kennedy’s father, the inimitable Joe Kennedy, forged a deal with mob boss Sam Giancana to “buy” support (especially in Illinois) needed to win the Democratic primary and ultimately the Presidency. Vote-counting (sound familiar?) in two states, Illinois and Texas (home state of Kennedy’s running mate, LBJ) was labeled fraudulent by Republicans and ballot-stuffing accusations were in full throat.
Nixon chose to concede, despite his doubts, to avoid a “constitutional crisis.” Seems like the gentlemanly thing to do by a guy not generally considered a “gentleman.” Was he right to do so? Hard to say. But you could view that moment in history as the end of the Happy Days era & the beginning of a decade of civil warfare.
It would be three years later when the world would mourn the assassination of JFK. His brother Bobby Kennedy would suffer the same fate five years later, just two months after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Watts riots would blow up in California as the black community in South Central L.A. would react to injustice and brutality from law enforcement. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale would form the Black Panthers in Oakland, CA as a militant organization “with an ideology of Black nationalism, socialism, and armed self-defense, particularly against police brutality.”
Radical organizations like the Weathermen and the Nation of Islam would promote militant and violent action rather than the “peaceful protests” embraced by the Civil Rights Movement. Hell, even Samuel L. Jackson was part of the fringe movement, holding Board members of Morehouse College hostage as they demanded curriculum changes and more prominent black representation. The Women’s Liberation movement emerged in the late 60’s as a political alignment of women and feminist intellectualism, seeking to free women from “male oppression.”
Any of this sound remotely familiar? Sure, we also have COVID-19 to deal with, but I think we can call it a push if you consider the Vietnam War, hippies, and the Manson family.
My point, if indeed there is one, is to not be fooled by the calendar flipping to 2021. There is no magical solution to the problems in America based on a date. If we, as a civilized nation, cannot find a way to respect, empathize, and communicate with the growing number of disenfranchised people around us, all looking for a voice….we should be prepared to buckle up for another decade of hell.
Find a way, every day. Do something to bridge the gap. Listen to someone. Change the channel. Turn off social media.
And pray for our nation.