Let me begin this by saying that I don’t particularly like either of the major candidates running for
president this year.Â While both of them have numerous admirable qualities and good ideas, they also both have numerous faults and failings and neither makes me enthusiastic about the consequences of voting for him.Â I am not a supporter of either man, and on election day I will have to once again have to hold my nose and choose which I think will be the lesser of two evils.
Now, as for political propaganda–I recently read a forum post from a curmudgeonly fellow who was passing along one of those ubiquitous internet letters that people tend to pass on if they happen to agree with them.
The letter purported to be from a Cuban who made the point that Fidel Castro started out as a young, charismatic guy who promised change, and a lot of Cubans were sick of the status quo so they went with the young guy who promised change, and OMG LOOK WHAT HAPPENED.Â The reader is, apparently, supposed to draw his/her own conclusions about the following of charismatic young guys who are all for change.Â And, no doubt, vote accordingly.
This led me to thinking about other charismatic young guys who were all for change.Â One of them wrote the following words, which, alas, far too few Americans have ever seen or paid attention to.
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, â€” That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Barack Obama is 47.Â In 1776, Thomas Jefferson was 33.Â John Hancock was 39.Â James Madison was 25.Â Patrick Henry, who advocated change more fiercely than most, was 40.Â Thomas Paine, who did likewise, was 39.Â And George Washington was 44.Â If charismatic young men like these hadn’t advocated change, we’d likely still be singing “God Save the Queen” today.Â (I have often said that the descendants of people who were conservatives in 1776 have a special name–Canadians–because that’s how I came to be the descendant of a gentleman who scooted across the border from New Jersey to New Brunswick and stayed there.)
Many Cubans still hold a deep grudge about what happened at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and I know several who will never vote for a Democrat because they hold Kennedy and his cronies personally responsible for that.Â However, even the most cursory examination of history will show that the Bay of Pigs was the Dulles brothers’ idea, that they’d gotten it pretty well set up to go before Kennedy was even elected, and that they were part of the Eisenhower administration while they did so.Â They went ahead with it under the assumption that once it was under way, Kennedy would have no choice but to send in American troops in support.Â Kennedy proved he did indeed have another choice, and he took it–but he was man enough to publicly accept the responsibility for what happened next.
John McCain is 72.Â In 1961, Allen Dulles was 68. John Foster Dulles was 73.Â Dwight D. Eisenhower was 71.Â Should the Cuban who wrote the letter not be thundering about old men who thought they were still warriors, acted accordingly, and OMG LOOK WHAT HAPPENED?Â Had the Bay of Pigs not happened, Castro would not have had a readymade propaganda victory at the very beginning of his rule, and what might have happened in Cuba as a result?
Obviously, both sides of that particular argument are hogwash and the comparisons they make are specious in the extreme.Â Obama is no Castro and McCain is no Dulles.Â To vote for or against a presidential candidate because some other guy in some other time and/or place did something is absurd.
But it seems that once again, a lot of people who, as Santayana said, know nothing of history, are once again doomed to repeat it.
photo credit: Obese Seagull Productions
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