Reader Opinion: 1968 -- History repeats itself
The recent protests, riots, looting, fires and deaths in Minneapolis brought to memory similar events in 1968. That year was marred by thousands of deaths in Vietnam, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. followed by riots in cities across America, the murder of Sen. Robert Kennedy, and violent protests at the Democratic Presidential Convention, which nominated Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson asserted: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These values are not constant but in continuous flux and tension to balance each other. In 1787, Jefferson wrote “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants.” This vivid depiction reiterates the principles, sacrifice and foundation of these United States.
Jefferson was an advocate for expanding knowledge through education. In establishing my alma mater, he stated: “We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
President Kennedy challenged Americans: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what can I do for my country.” As 1968 came to a close, a sense of hope and tranquility appeared. The Apollo 8 crew circumnavigated the moon on Christmas Eve reading the Creation story from Genesis. With the recent launch of astronauts aboard a new American rocket perhaps the same innovation and determination can guide our country’s future in these troubled, uncertain times. With public input and guidance from a loving God, these issues that have divided us for too long, can be peacefully resolved.