By Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
I think that when people talk about the question of
1963 and 2008, they forget an inconvenient truth: that a given day
often marks more than one anniversary.
best example of this is 11/9, which is the anniversary of the fall of
the Berlin Wall. When I recently suggested on my blog, Undiplomatic,
that Obama should give a speech in Germany on that day instead of last
week, a reader rightly reminded me that the problem with that is that
11/9 is the anniversary not just the fall of the Berlin Wall, but also
contrast for August 28th is not even remotely as stark, but it's still
telling. Yes, it will be the 45th anniversary of MLK's I Have a Dream
speech. But it also will be the 40th anniversary of the day in 1968
when Hubert Humphrey was nominated while anti-war activists and Chicago
police battled on the streets outside the convention center. As Rick
Perlstein points out in Nixonland, it was the day the New Deal
coalition fractured and began to disintegrate.
of course, represents the best chance the Democrats have had since then
to build a new majority coalition, albeit one very different from the
one that fell apart forty years ago.
day, three years. And on all three, to use a phrase from '68, the
whole world was/will be watching. The best speech Obama could give
would acknowledge not just one anniversary, but both, seamlessly
integrating them into a narrative of political redemption and national
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