Royal Wedding, Kaddafi, and Immigration

Seems a rather timely string of events. Only in this instance they are from August 3, 1981. I’m not sure if this is proof that history repeats itself or more like some things never change.

A few weeks ago, Traci and I were talking about the traveling show Diana – A Celebration, which was opening at Union Station. Excited yet a bit reluctant to admit it, Traci was a Diana fan and wanted to see the show. As a sign of her devotion, she ran upstairs and soon returned with two copies of Newsweek. Both covers celebrated Diana: “Royal Wedding” (8/2/81) and “The Royal Celebration” (8/10/81).

I ran across the magazines tonight and starting flipping through them. At first, I was mesmerized by the ads. Being in advertising, I always marvel at old ads.

Newsweek CoverInside cover: Winston. Nobody does it better. complete with two guys enjoying a cigarrett while discussing building plans. Honda: Tested under gruelling conditions. Because life isn’t a simple Sunday drive. followed by 3 columns of copy and a tiny photo of a car splashing through a puddle. And perhaps my favorite and a statement to the subject of this blog entry was an AETNA ad: Let’s have disposable retirement income, not disposable retirees over a photo of an elderly couple squashed into trash cans. Wow! The times really haven’t changed. (No mention of Twitter or Facebook, though.)

Then, sandwiched nicely between ads for Porsche 928 and Christian Children’s Fund, I found a story that sat me back in my seat: A Plan to Overthrow Kaddafi. The article was a critic of then CIA director William J. Casey and his “capacity for sound judgement.” According to the article, the CIA planned and the White House approved (but congress did not support or fund) a classic destabilization campaign that utilized a disinformation program designed to embarrass Kaddafi and his government. As an alternate option, the CIA also planned a paramilitary campaign “by disaffected Libyan nationals to blow up bridges, conduct small-scale guerrilla operations and demonstrate that Kaddafi was opposed by an indigenous political force”. Wow! The times really haven’t changed. Obviously, the assaults didn’t happen. What caught me off guard was not the covert plans, the fact that Kaddafi was the most dangerous man of the time, or even Sally Struthers’s lost stare but rather the odd proximity of events: Kaddafi and a Royal wedding. What are the chances that these events would overlap in history…twice?

Then, on the next page, the similarities of the times hit with a resounding thud. A New Immigration Policy. Seeing the accompanying photograph of immigrant workers picking lettuce in Texas caused the flash. The novelty of history was quickly overshadowed by the fact that the debate of the day really doesn’t change.

Of course, the closing opinion article was also right in line: Expanding Private Welfare. “Every group, when it feels its economic security slipping away, runs to government for protection regardless of how loudly it has previously preached the virtues of rugged free enterprise. The list of groups now being given protection is almost endless–autos, steel, textiles, sugar. These groups are not villians. They simply want what each of us wants–economic security. But to meet the demand for economic security with protection is to freeze the economy into sick industries.”

Wow. Where’s mention of the banks!

Seemingly, with each turn of the page, the articles and opinions could easily be relevant today. What started as a humorous flip through a dated magazine quickly spun into deep philosophical thoughts. Other than banning cigarrett ads, nothing has really changed.


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