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Deja Vu Once Again

It's rather spooky really.

I have these memories burned into my brain from a year called 1968.  I was an impressionable 7-year-old with a father in politics, so I was in the center of a lot of things I didn't really understand at the time.

That year, the Republican National Convention was in Miami, FL, and my dad had just been elected to the Texas Senate after switching to the Republican Party (a revolutionary act in 1960s Texas controlled by the Johnson Machine).  Richard Nixon was the nominee and Eisenhower was one of the key speakers.  The date was August 5, so the notorious Democratic Convention was still two weeks away in Chicago.  But even still, there were violent protests, tear gas and plenty of unrest.

That year, it wasn't the Iraq/Afghanistan War, it was the Vietnam War.  Instead of five cops getting killed in Dallas, it was four students at the Kent State May 4th Massacre.  A month before that, Martin Luther King, Jr. had been killed, and a month after Kent State, Robert F. Kennedy was shot dead.

That year, there had been huge race riots in parts of Baltimore, MD, and the governor of Maryland, Spiro Agnew, had done a fair job of calming folks down.  That brought him to Nixon's attention and he ended up being the Vice President nominee.

The entire US was embroiled in the anti-war/pro civil rights movements, with one of the largest demographic groups in history - the Baby Boomers - coming of age and causing a major disruption to nearly every segment of society.  America society was dealing with significant issues on nearly every front - social, political, racial, religious.  The year 1968 was one of great upheaval.

A number of well-known writers and pundits, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, were indicted for telling folks to burn their draft cards.

The USS Pueblo with 83 souls on board was captured by the North Koreans for violating territorial waters.  Nguyen Ngoc Loan executes a Viet Cong prisoner captured during the Tet Offensive and the photo goes viral (see above).

Walter Cronkite declared the Vietnam War unwinnable.

US troops kill 500 men, women and children in My Lai, Vietnam.

Violence breaks out during King's March on Memphis, with a black boy dead and 60 people injured.

LBJ announces he won't run for president.

In Paris, the Student Revolt flares with violence and the infamous Bloody Monday riots.  The revolt spreads with nine million workers going on strike.  Eventually, de Gaulle calls out the military.

Andy Warhol is (mercifully) shot dead.  RFK is shot by Jordanian Muslim Sirhan Sirhan.

Prague Spring heats up in Czechoslovakia and Soviet leaders begin planning an invasion to suppress the movement.  Later in the year, 200,000 Soviet troops cross the border on the way to Prague.

LBJ gives his "guns and butter" speech while announcing a 10% hike in income taxes to pay for the war.

Abbie Hoffman calls on Yippies to come to Chicago to disrupt the Democratic National Convention.  During the convention, Chicago police cause a riot by beating protesters and launching tear gas into the crowd, forcing Mayor Daley to try and explain their actions to the world.

Women's libbers and NOW join forces to "burn" their bras at the Miss America contest (presumably before Trump owned the brand).

Mexican troops kill student protesters in Mexico City.  The Olympic Games in the same city are boycotted by several African nations to protest apartheid in South Africa, and two US athletes make headlines by giving the "black power" salute during their metal ceremonies.

LBJ halts the bombing of North Vietnam.  Richard Nixon beats Hubert Humphrey by less than 1% of the vote, while George Wallace pulls 14%.  The election is followed by national draft card burning and South Vietnam finally agreeing to join the Paris Peace Talks.

The year ends with one of the lowest unemployment rates for two decades and three men orbiting the Moon for the first time ever, making an immortal Christmas broadcast to the world.

As you read all that, you may hear some echoes with 2016.  The parallels are rather spooky, really.  Sure, the names have changed, but the currents and eddies seem familiar.  About the only thing the world hasn't seen yet is a wave of assassinations (gods forbid).

If we take the time echo as an indicator for the remainder of the year, we are likely to see some wild events in the coming months.  It's likely the conventions will be tumultuous, racial tension will remain high and a lame-duck president will try desperately to salvage his place in history.

As George Ure is fond of saying, history doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme.

Buckle up folks.  Here comes the big dip!

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