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This morning, I voted in Michigan’s Republican presidential primary, and I returned home to read in Erasmus’ Adages in preparation for tomorrow’s class. But before I settled down with book in hand, my mind began a-wandering, and I realized that I had seen this movie — or something very much like it — before.
Forty-eight years ago today, George Wallace won the Michigan Democratic presidential primary, and 24 years ago, Ross Perot appeared on the scene. Strangely enough, I have a sharper memory of Wallace’s campaign than of Perot’s. I did not live in Michigan then. I was a freshman at Cornell and had recently begun writing an opinion column entitled “O Tempora, O Mores” for The Cornell Daily Sun. I was then, as I am now, a political animal, and I watched with wonder the primary season unfold.
I was, in those, days a left-liberal. I had been swept up in the Kennedy mania in the wake of JFK’s assassination. I did not like the Vietnam War, and I favored Eugene McCarthy. Those were the days! I was nineteen. The girls were enticing, and nearly everything that I read was fresh and new.