For several years I made and occasionally passed out a business card that quoted the philosopher George Santayana on the back side. The quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
I’ve keep adding to my knowledge of the past since the beginning of my lif. I began sharing my historical perspective when I began a website in 1999. Not long after I was invited to write a little regarded column on a small tabloid in a small town. I’ve written in it off and on over 23 years. This morning I went back and read two old columns which impressed me almost 20 years after first penning them.
The first is a column about my old School Board chum Mary Cameron. It was written just after she was selected to be the Chair of the School Board. I went back to it because I’d just been attacked on Facebook by an ally of a young woman who accused my friend Alanna Oswald of being a racist a charge so toxic that I did my best to defend Alanna in a column as I once defended Mary. I, of course, rarely retreat from a public attack and sent a response to the defender of person who slandered Alanna and cost her reelection.
At the end of a second reply to him I appended the old column about Mary for him to consider as both Mary and Alanna’s attacker are black women.
While I was looking at my old columns I opened up one with the cryptic Title 41 and 43.
I was impressed with this too as it paints a picture of an America mired in the Middle East by 43 son of 41. It mentions something I still feel strongly about namely America’s giving Israel unlimitted support no matter how ham handedly they treat the Palestinians. Does that ring a bell to readers in 2023?
Here is a numerical reference guide to our Presidents
36 Lyndon Banes Johnson
40 Ronald Reagan
41 George Herbert Walker Bush
43 George W Bush
Three of the concluding paragraphs:
41 failed to teach 43 the important lesson learned by President 36, that we can’t afford a “guns and butter” policy. During 36’s tenure, guns, (the war in Vietnam) and, butter (the war on poverty) bankrupted America. 41 called this “voodoo economics.” But President 40 practiced voodoo economics and was very popular despite the vast debt he built up. 43 is sticking with voodoo economics.
So today 43 faces the prospect of going to war in a few weeks while the weather is with us and the world is against us. If we win quickly, catch all of Hussein’s flying monkeys and lock them up, find a grateful Iraqi population willing to set their ancient hatreds aside while we police them it could a great triumph for American foreign policy.
Of course, if we get stuck in a terrorist’s playground for a decade and become desperate, paranoid and vengeful like the Israelis it will be a fiasco. It will be especially bad if every terrorist we kill is replaced by two more (which is what happened in Ancient Greece whenever some hero chopped off one of the heads of the terrible Hydra).
Here’s a link to the full column to give it a little more context
And let me add that I eventually came around to George W Bush’s war in Iraq when he talked about bringing Democracy to a land of Sadistic Tyrants. At the time I wrote this in March of 2004 Minnesota’s Senator, Paul Wellstone, a fierce critic of a war in Iraq had just been killed while running for reelection on October 25th of 2002 a year and a half earlier. Wellstone was leading the case for Democrats in Congress against taking our anger over the 3-11 attack on the World Trade Towers into an Iraq that seemed to him to be a dangerous diversion. Without Paul Wellstone the opposition to the Iraq War grew more muted and Bush 43 won over people like me who were skeptical but did like the idea of freeing innocent people from tyrants. I still feel that way. But my column reflected the concern which when ignored came back to bite me and America. Look how Donald Trump used it to beat down the retired George W Bush and the Bush clan. Today we have tyrants left and right and an America more inclined to mind its own business which also includes ignoring massive environmental collapse. We are too focused on gas prices and watching Donald Trump who has more lawyers buzzing around him than a turd has flies.
This is a middle-of-the-night-I-can’t-sleep blog post. I have a column to turn in tomorrow and these are just a few of the ideas for it rattling around in my head. As almost always…..I haven’t done much proof reading. I’m just emptying out my head.