1968: the perfect storm

Attorney General Kennedy and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 22 June 1963, Washington, D.C.
Today on Facebook, two thoughtful people in their late 30s were discussing the state of the world.

They expressed their opinions that current US politics, economics, and overall social ills are deeply discouraging. This made me think about the time I was most discouraged about the fate and behavior of the US: 1968.

Here is part of my FB post:

"The assassinations (MLK, RFK), the Chicago Democratic Convention riots, the Watts (LA) riots, the 1968 election where Richard Nixon was elected president, and the revelations of American involvement in Vietnam were a perfect storm.

I graduated from high school that year (Louisville, KY) and went to Hofstra University (Long Island, just outside NYC) as a naive, optimistic young person; by 1969, I was a hippie who marched on Washington.

So I understand the current angst about the state of the world, but I know that things can get better, as they did in many ways since 1968.

I also know that people can carve out satisfying lives for themselves if they pinpoint their own morals, ethics, and ideals--then try to live them out."

In spite of all, I remain optimistic about the future of the US and the world.

Humans have terrible flaws, weaknesses, and habits of destruction. Yet humans have energy, hope, and dreams for the future. In my mind, the positive will always, eventually, outweigh the negative.

I suppose I haven't really changed all that much from the 1968 high-school graduate who knew she could make an interesting, challenging, and honest life for herself. It all starts with knowing who you are and what is most important to you.


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