Marvel to think “What if1 the C.S.A. won the U.S. Civil War?” has topped the sub-subgenre of alternate history since defeated Confederate officers and Southern newspaper editors colluded to inculcate the myth of the Lost Cause2 in the late 1860s. Scratch your heads in wonderment how dozens3 of writers and literary agents each year fail to grasp the plainly and painfully obvious reality that the South did, in fact, win the long-term battle for the hearts and minds of white Americans. How else to explain something such as the speaker of the Texas of Representatives on Aug. 26, 2021, banning sue of the word “racism” during debate over a nakedly racist bill to reimpose bedrock tenets of Jim Crow?
Your “Why Won’t He Go Away and Stay Away” WPT host has covered this bloody ground before. He even linked to this article which breaks down the whole sordid affair. Probably more than once. But the point, like the South that a rebel must feel pride in, rises again with news of Sirhan Sirhan’s conditional parole.
The presidential candidate assassin so not nice they named him twice had his very confused reasons for gunning down Robert F. Kennedy on the night of Kennedy’s ascension to the top of the 1968 Democratic primary heap. Principally, Sirhan resented RFK for allegedly selling out Palestinians during the Six-Day War of 1967.4
The killing ensured Republican Richard M.5 Nixon’s victory the following November. Whatever one could talk themselves into believing about RFK’s siding with Israelis at the cost of international justice, just wait until they saw Nixon.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools
Murdering top political figures almost never works out well. A strong argument exists that Italy never quite pulled itself together after March 15, 44 BCE. More than 1,900 years after the roughest Ides since the warm last third of a St. Ides Malt Liquor, killing the better Kennedy6 did U.S. history dirty.
RFK had even-to-better odds of becoming the 37th U.S. president. He would have taken office with a commitment to build on the recent years’ passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Great Society programs such as Medicare and Medicaid had just begun operating, and labor unions (not always for the most-legal of reasons) never had a better friend than RFK.
In fact, the momentum for enacting and enforcing helpful, necessary national laws had built to the degree that Nixon barely tried to arrest it. Pretty much all post-World War II environmental legislation happened between 1970 and 1973. Title IX? Nixon. He, frankly, had other priorities; chiefly, turning the presidency into a dictatorship. The success or failure of that project remains unclear.
What could RFK have accomplished? Can’t say. But the speculating would make for a better book than anything reviewed here.
== Non Sequitur Section ==
Stay safe, Gulf Coastacados. Hurricane Ida looks like the real deal.