Sunday, January 8, 2012

What If Certain Events Had Not Occurred?

Time travel has often been used in novels, TV shows, and movies, especially of the science fiction variety.  Even if you are not a science fiction fan, I am sure you have wondered what it would be like to travel back in time to witness historical events.  Maybe you have wanted to go back in time to do something differently, whether that is for someone else's benefit or for your own benefit.  I know I have.  When I was at Washington and Lee University my freshman year, I had the choice of going to second visits of two fraternities.  One fraternity had a studious reputation while the other had more of a party atmosphere.  I chose to go to the second fraternity's party, in part because they paid a lot of attention to me at their first visit, and I ended up not being asked to join that fraternity.  There certainly was no guarantee that I would have been asked to join the first fraternity if I had chosen to go to their second visit, but I have a feeling my life would have been different if I had gone to their party.  I ended up not joining a fraternity at W & L, and I transferred to the University of Florida after my sophomore year.  I am not saying my life would have been better or worse if I had joined a fraternity and stayed at W & L.  I think my life would have been different.  It is not often that you can look back on your life and see crossroads where your life could have been different if you had made a different decision.  I think that fraternity visit decision was such a crossroad for me.

Well, what made you think about this, you may ask me. A few days ago I read an article on lockergnome.com called 11/22/63: The Stephen King Novel for Science Fiction Fans.  The article is by Robert Glen Fogarty, and you can read the article by clicking here.  In case you do not know, 11/22/63 is the day when President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX.  In the book 11/22/63 (this is not a horror story),  someone goes back in time to prevent the assassination.  The rest of the book concerns the change in the timeline that results from President Kennedy not being killed then.  I have just started reading this book on my Nook, so I don't know what changes to history Stephen King has written in this book.  I know I have often thought about how things would have been different.  I certainly do not think President Kennedy would have sent troops to Vietnam if he had lived.  Who knows what else may have been different.  It is all speculation anyway.  We will never know one way or another.  I have just finished reading another book called Jack Kennedy:  Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews, so President Kennedy has been on my mind of late.

I believe Kennedy's assassination was a crossroad for our country.  I think possibly our country would be different today if this event had not happened.  Similar to my own crossroad, I am not saying things would be better if he had lived.  Things might be worse.  Again, we will never know one way or another.  However, that does not mean we can't think about such possibilities.  It is fun to do so.  Perhaps though we should not think about such things too much.  We can't change the past no matter how much we may want to.  We can change our future by learning from the past.  That would worth spending our time on.

1 comment:

lyoung said...

You've just confirmed my desire to read 11/22/63! I've been hearing good things about King's most recent book, and I have been intrigued by the fact that the focus of this book relates to the assassination of President Kennedy. I was only 4 when Kennedy was shot, and I remember very clearly the day I watched the newscasts. It truly was an impressionable and impacting moment in history. I wonder, however, if Kennedy's questionable social behaviors would have caught up with him during his Office had he survived or had the assassination not occurred. One never knows what kind of impact a "supposition" might have had on our nation, but knowing and understanding the history behind our events in our nation/world certainly helps determine future events.