The deployment of 25,000+ military and law enforcement forces in our nation's capital seems more than prudent given the disastrous siege of the Capitol. I'm confident that these professional women and men will protect our capital and its people. But I have a fear for the longer term for our country.
In the mid-1970s, my high school choral group was invited to tour Romania as part of a United Nations cultural exchange program. We spent three weeks traveling around this beautiful country, performing American music and meeting many wonderful people and seeing fantastic sites including Dracula's Castle! At the time, Nicolae Ceaușescu was Romania's president and he was viewed somewhat favorably in the West because he didn't always toe the line with the Soviet Union. It wouldn't be until years later that the world would discover that he was a vicious tyrant.
There were about 40 of us on the trip and for many of my fellow students, this was their first trip overseas. Actually, for some of them, it was their first time on an airplane! When we landed in Bucharest, the airport was filled with people, just like any airport back home. But then some students discovered that there were armed military scattered throughout the airport. Some of them were emotionally shaken and the tour guide hustled us out to our bus. Later, I asked the guide about the soldiers and she said people had come to accept them and to give them a wide berth.
In the post-1970s skyjackings, we came to accept the intrusiveness of searches and metal detectors in our airports. In the post-9/11 era, we came to accept even more intrusiveness and the stationing of military and police in all of our transportation hubs and shopping malls. We came to accept government's intrusion into our phone calls and electronic communications.
We even came to accept torture.
What I fear is that D.C. will become a locked-down city where the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court and all the other Federal facilities will have even more restricted access. These are the dangers that the right-wing terrorists are inflicting on our nation. The buildings that house our republic have to be protected from some of the citizens represented by the people working within those buildings! Who said that irony is dead?
I understand that these actions by our governments-- at every level-- are intended to protect us from the violence that permeates our society particularly from these right-wing seditionists.
But I remember D.C. when you could walk into many buildings without any security and the others with a tour or a guide. I remember airports without soldiers guarding them. I remember when flying was comfortable and even a little bit fun.
All of those days are gone.
RFK was assassinated.
MLK was assassinated.
The Democratic National Convention in Chicago devolved into massive riots.
Nixon was elected president.
The Vietnam war was raging and the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive. It was the deadliest year for American soldiers with 16,592 killed. 1968 was the most expensive year in the Vietnam War with the U.S. spending the 2020 equivalent of $569 billion.
There was even a pandemic, the Hong Kong Flu, also known as the 1968 flu pandemic (it continued into 1969), which killed an estimated 14 million people globally.
One bright spot emerged during the Christmas season when Apollo 8 took astronauts into orbit around the Moon for the first time. They captured the famous "Earthrise" photo. An American sent a telegram to NASA thanking the astronauts for "saving 1968."
Nothing saved 2020 except that Trump lost the election. Good luck, President-Elect Biden. You've got your work cut out for you!
Profile InformationName: Paul McKibbins
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: Catskill Mountains
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 04:16 PM
Number of posts: 21,240
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