Have We Learned Nothing From History?

There have been a few times that I felt a coup was accomplished in this country: The murder of John F. Kennedy, believed by more than half of the nation as involving more than one gunman. We still don't have the answers we deserve.

In 2000, there was Bush v. Gore, during which Al Gore had the most votes but due to chaos in Florida, George W. Bush won a highly irregular Supreme Court decision to gain that state's electoral votes and the highest office.

And here we are again, with Hillary Clinton winning an election but Donald Trump winning the presidency. Why don't we learn anything from history? The electoral college should have been immediately abolished after the disaster in the year 2000. It is an antiquated system that should not outweigh the popular vote. It was created by our Founding Fathers who never expected the system would actually favor one candidate over another with more votes.

We have something like a true democracy in this country. But the electoral college and the influence of big money in campaign contributions and lobbying really make this a lot less than a true republic.

It's hard to change and the natural inclination is to look away from bitter lessons of history. Trust me, I know this too well. After forty years of no one telling the full story, I just published an expose, Revolution's End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping, Mind Control and the Secret History of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA. Long, fascinating story short: A phony left-wing group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, was set up by a CIA undercover officer and elements of the California Department of Corrections. Under Governor Ronald Reagan, the aim was to discredit the legitimate leftist activism of the Black Panthers and anti-war protesters in the Bay Area. It worked all too well.

It is not surprising that we have learned little about this case, as most books, films and TV projects ignore the confirmed intelligence operation that went off the rails, resulting in the kidnap of an heiress. I pinpoint the shootout and fire that claimed six SLA lives in South LA in May of 1974 as the moment police militarization began in America. For the live, two-hour TV broadcast of this event nationwide showed the US the first view of SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) and police departments across the country began to ask the LAPD, who first formed SWAT, to train their men.

The creation of SWAT did not anticipate police-on-citizen violence and the Ferguson, Missouris of today. The electoral college's creation could not predict two essential electoral coups in 2000 and 2016. It's okay to make a mistake. It's tragic to not learn from it and have it change all history for the worse.