By sheer chance I watched “Today in history” on my local TV station today. Two events stood out from the several stories shown on this always excellent program.
The first story told of Robert Kennedy and his campaign for the Democratic nomination in opposition to LBJ’s divisive policies. Kennedy had just won the California primary when he was gunned down by Sirhan-sirhan.
“How convenient” runs shrieking through my mind, pursued by the thought police.
“What a shame” follows, her eyes red.
The second story spoke of a great political experiment that never happened. In the 70s Italy was wracked by political instability and terrorism.
The conservative Christian Democrats were the largest party followed by the Italian Communist Party. Yes, the Communists were the second largest party in Italy at the time and the largest Communist party this side of the Iron curtain.
Both parties were led by true statesmen who realized that the only way for their nation out of the crisis lay in the “historical compromise.” A national solidarity government had been agreed upon between Aldo Moro and Enrico Berlinguer and the upcoming vote of confidence in parliament was viewed with trepidation and elation.
Though the PCI had “put much water in its wine,” various parties (including the USA) were seriously disturbed by the prospect of Communists in the government of a major western ally.
The vote of confidence was never held. A larger event captured the public’s attention. Aldo Moro of the CDP was kidnapped and his bullet-ridden body found three weeks later.
The Red Brigades claimed credit but it was their high-water mark. A few years later it and other similar organizations around Europe were mostly discredited and dispersed.
“How convenient” strolled through my mind, followed by the tragic figures “what a shame” and “there’s another great leader shot down.” The thought police guy eventually showed up, huffing and puffing. When he caught his breath a bit, he wheezed “convenient for whom? Who do you think the Red Brigades were working for? Who was Sirhan-Sirhan?” I nodded and watched Robert and Aldo shuffle off to join Paul Wellstone, JFK, Saddat, Martin Luther, Rabin and so many others, Howie Convenient in tow.
Somewhere, a demon in my mind howled something about the greatest trick the devil ever pulled…
The material for this diary was shown on ET tv in Greece on Wed, March 16. The missed opportunities moved me to present this to you as I saw it. Cross posted at dKos