All or Nothing Liberals, Nixon, and Déjà vu All Over Again

Jaime O'Neill's picture

Bob Dylan has littered my consciousness with damn near as many quotes as I got from studying Shakespeare. One Dylan bon mot that often comes up because it’s so often apropos is the line in which he asked the question “how much do I have to pay to get out of going through all of this twice?” He was still in his 20s when he wrote that and, as in so many other lines he gave us, he seemed prescient about life’s propensity for making us go through things over and over, or forcing us to witness other people making bad decisions we no longer see the need to make again ourselves.

In 1968, the year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the riots that followed King’s death, and the police riot in Chicago at the Democratic Convention, I voted for the Peace and Freedom Party candidate, a person whose name I no longer remember. I also did what I could to see that anyone I could persuade might also withhold support from the Democratic candidate. I could not bring myself to vote for Hubert Humphrey and, here in California, that decision helped elect Richard Nixon to be our leader for six desperately bad years. Even a state like California, routinely taken for granted as a “blue” state now, went Republican in ’68 and again in ’72.

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