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Is it 2020 or 1968

August 25, 2020


Is it 2020 or 1968?

With all that is happening around the world am asking myself is it 2020 or 1968?
In 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. And Robert Kennedy were killed. The war in Vietnam was dragging on as politicians droned on and on about it with little impact and the three network TV news droned on and on with negative impact. When the Democratic National Convention opened in August, thousands of students, activists and other demonstrators were on the street rioting and looting. On TV I watched various American cities burning down as a spirit of rebellion swept through the youth community.

In Europe there was a period of reform known as the Prague Spring. But the Prague Spring would be brief, as Soviet military invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia in August, re-instituting hard-line Communist rule. Despite all the revolutionary talk by the media and and student leaders I do not remember anyone climbing over the Berlin wall to get into East Germany.

New technology was emerging. That dismal year ended on a positive note, at least, as three astronauts aboard Apollo 8 became the first humans to orbit the moon. Apollo 8 circled the moon 10 times.

A Republican called Richard Nixon openly disliked by Hollywood was President of the United States. An old frumpy Democrat called Hubert Humphrey was going to take him out in the election. But Nixon triumphed on Election Day with a comfortable electoral college lead (despite a razor-thin margin of victory in the popular vote).

The dark news and negativeness of 1968 pop and rock music was not as memorable as many might suggest today. The Beatles were nearing the end of their run, Motown was declining and folks like Otis Redding, Simon and Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations and Steppenwolf were my musical touch stones.

In Canada where I grew up, the Prime Minister in 1968 was a Pierre Trudeau a Liberal, anti American internationalist. He was constructed by the political class as the hip and groovy politician that was going to change a boring and staid country.

As I write this I feel like Rip Van Winkle. According to Wikipedia "Rip Van Winkle" is a short story by the American author Washington Irving, first published in 1819. It follows a Dutch-American villager in colonial America named Rip Van Winkle who meets mysterious Dutchmen, imbibes their liquor and falls asleep in the Catskill Mountains. He awakes 20 years later to a very changed world, having missed the American Revolution.

The time distance between 1968 and 2020 is measurable by two generations.
But it seems that two generations post 1968 have had little strategic impact on the long game.

An unarmed black man is murdered in a ubiquitous American city sparks off a summer of riots, looting and racial disharmony by proponents of Marxist ideologies. Curiously as in 1968 there is no great migration from American suburbs to China, Russia, Venezuela or Somalia all leftist nirvanas.

Europe has experimented with a project called the EU since 1955. The high water mark of the project receded with the formal departure of Great Britain this year. Tragically internal fences and walls that came down in 1989 as political systems failed are now going back up since 2015 as both internal external social and economic systems are failing.

In 2020 the American President disliked by the cultural and media elites. The opposition has mustered an elderly Washington political character to challenge him.

In 1968 politicos and and their media strategists made endless pronouncements about the Vietnam war. Today out politicians and their experts (real or contrived) drone on and on via social media about climate change and COVID19 without end. Promising solutions to both but losing traction as solutions are emerging as incredibly expensive, arbitrary and open ended.

The music of 2020 can be best described as eclectic. Blinding Lights by Weekend, Dance Monkey by Tones and I, Roses by St. Jhn and Don’t Start Now by Dua Lipa are the most popular streamed music up to April 2020. Not exactly memorable tunes in many ways but reflecting the social and cultural environment of our times.

Finally, in Canada the son of the Prime Minister that was in office in 1968 holds the same office. He too is a Liberal, anti American and a globalist. He openly states that he and his socialist colleagues are intent on making Canada a very different country by the time he leaves office.

Move over Rip and let me join you in figuring this all out.

This is the first of a series of short notes that I am posting as Editor to the BORDERPOL Journal.
Thomas A. Tass


August 25 2020