... Or why it's sometimes not good to let me just sit and think. Odd associations may link up in my head.
First, dear readers, I ask you to peruse Robert McElvaine's column in the Huffington Post. Take your time, and you'll have to admit he has an interesting premise - that Robert Kennedy's murder basically started a civil war in the United States. It wasn't a very violent clash, being mainly political, but it was between those who wanted American culture to remain static and those who wanted change to fit the shifting climate of the times.
To paraphrase Kennedy's own words, there were those who saw things as they were and said "Leave well enough alone."
At the time, leaving things well enough alone wasn't nearly good enough. Times were changing, and it would have been interesting to see a charismatic idealist (RFK) gain the White House. Had he not been shot by Sirhan, I think he would have beaten Humphrey for the nomination and gone on to beat Nixon in the general election of 1968. We might never have seen police rioting in Chicago.
Now, time for the odd associations.
Keeping this in mind, let me introduce you to The Mule. In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, The Mule was the one factor that Hari Seldon's psychohistory (a predictive mathematics that essentially mapped out accurately all major human political trends over a thousand years or so) couldn't predict. He was a wild card, and repairing the damage to Seldon's predictions took several decades.
And so we come to Barack Obama. He's close to my age, and what I would call a charismatic idealist. He also has appealed to voters in the 45-59 age bracket - perhaps not coincidentally those who were children or teenagers when Kennedy was shot.
So, are we back on track? have the Culture Wars reached a turning point? Only time will tell.