Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Salon, 05-07-04, Changing the past.

Sue Blom's monthly salon convened on the 7th, the topic this time to be, "If you had a Time Machine which could take you back in time up to fifty years only, what would you try to change?" We had a free-wheeling discussion on possible alternate histories, with a very interesting effect. Although we were able to agree on some recent events we would affect, such as proving to the Florida election commission that butterfly ballots were a bad idea, or attempting to drop a dime on the 9/11 hijackers effectively, we were unable to determine much else that might have been a sure improvement. Tackling Oswald before he got into the Book Depository would surely have changed history, but would it have been for the good? We could assume that, had Kennedy not died, he would have won a second term, but what after that? Would the conduct of the Vietnam war have been different, or not? Would there have been a Tonkin Gulf resolution, or not? Impossible to say. If Lyndon Johnson hadn't been worn down by conducting the war from 1964 to 1968 and had remained vice-president, would he have run for President in 1968? If so, would Nixon have run against him or not, and with what result? If there had been no Watergate, would the moral climate have brought about a Carter presidency, or not? And if there were no liberal/wimpy Carter to react against, would there have been a Reagan-Bush administration to follow--or not? It gets pretty murky, pretty fast. One thing we thought might be an unalloyed good would have been foiling James Earl Ray's assassination of Martin Luther King, although we wondered how much more--or how little--time we might have bought him before some other assassin struck--.
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