1968 or 2016? Developments of ’68 bear striking resemblance to 2016

By Jackson Kliewer

Pigs running for president, riots in the streets, protests for black rights movements and tensing relationships with a foreign land. At first many people would think this was describing the current year of 2016, but this also fits perfectly for 1968.

1968 is an infamous year to American history, as it held some of the most insane events from the decade. Comparisons between 2016 and 1968 have started to spread as this year (and unbelievable events) move forward.

The 1968 election season was wild as the brother of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, was assassinated, causing the more than lackluster Hubert Humphrey to take his place as the Democratic nominee. In protest, during the Democratic National Convention, the Youth International Party held a mock convention where they elected a real pig named Pigasus as their presidential nominee.

As around six in 10 of voters do not enjoy either candidate today, this would be rather relatable to the people of today.

The Democratic Convention eventually led to a mass riot involving the Youth International Party (Yippies) and police officers. Riots are not unheard of in 2016, as examples including one in Milwaukee show that this behavior still persists today. A more accurate comparison to the Milwaukee riots would be the six days of race riots that took place in Washington, D.C., after the assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s interesting to note that King once said in an interview that “Riots are self defeating and socially destructive,” which might make you question the response given to these situations and start a discussion on if this was the correct course of action.

The Vietnam War also intensified as more people started to protest it after seeing the horrific images news stations started to share. Our involvement with the Middle East has been questioned increasingly throughout this year as we see more of the devastation our influence is having.

When comparing these two years, we are able to reflect on our current circumstances. We should see how these problems played out in the past as a way of better resolving our problems for the future. We need to keep in our hearts especially the fact that even though 1968 was a difficult year, we were able to get through it and turn over a better tomorrow. 2016 might be crazy, but we will pull through, even though we need to still take responsibility of our actions for the best outcome. As author and philosopher Voltaire would say, “We must cultivate our garden.”

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