In Presidential election years in the United States, today is Inauguration Day, and frequently the State of the Union speech that the Constitution mandates occurs on or around this day as well, and furthermore, a century ago two days ago, the iconic lyrics for Solidarity Forever first issued from the International workers of the World; in Rome seventeen hundred sixty-seven years ago, Decius issued imperial orders to capture and execute practicing Christians, mandates that resulted in the martyrdom of Pope Fabian and countless others; more or less a millennium and fifteen years afterward, in 1265, the English Parliament for the first time included representatives from large towns and urban areas that did not require blood ties to specified royal or noble families; across the Atlantic three centuries and two years later, in 1567, French imperial hopes in Brazil came to an ugly end as Portuguese forces decisively defeated France’s colonial contingent; the English King, Charles Stuart, three hundred sixty-seven years prior to the present pass began the trial for his life for high crimes such as treason; two hundred thirty-three years back, Great Britain signed a peace treaty with France and Spain that ended the American Revolution; seven hundred thirty-one days hence, in 1785, on the other side of the globe, Vietnamese forces executed a surprise attack on invading Siamese troops on the Mekong River, annihilating the entire army of the interlopers; half a century and a year more than half a decade subsequently, in 1841, as part of its
spoils of victory in its success in forcing Opium on the Chinese in the First Opium War, English forces occupied Hong Kong for the first time in what would end up a century-and-a-half ‘lease;’ thirty-two years thereafter, in 1873, a male child was born who would claim fame as Nobel Literary Laureate Johannes Jensen; just four years after that conjunction, in 1877, a ‘Great Powers’ conference in Constantinople continued carving up the faltering Ottoman Empire with a compromise disposition of Bulgaria and other parts of the Balkans that represented a compromise between Britain and Russia; a decade subsequent to that, to the day, in 1887, half-a-world away in environs where another empire was flexing its young muscle, the U.S. Navy received permission to lease Pearl Harbor as its Eastern Pacific naval base; seven years henceforth, in 1894, a baby boy came along who would mature as the cartoonist Harold Gray, creator of Orphan Annie; twenty-six years yet later on, in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union first came into existence, and the baby boy was born who would grow up to direct and write films as Federico Fellini, along with another male child who would become the performer and screenwriter Deforest Kelley; a year to the day afterward, in 1921, Turkey adopted its first Constitution, which inaugurated post-Ottoman rule; seven hundred thirty days even closer to now, in 1923, a baby male entered our midst whose fate was to croon and write lyrics as Slim Whitman; another two years to the day later, in 1925, the male child entered the world who would become poet, priest, and Liberation Theology leader Ernesto Cardenal; In Old Arizona fourteen hundred sixty-one days nearer to now, in 1929, became the first completely ‘sound-tracked’ film to appear nationwide in theaters; thirteen years hence, in 1942, German Nazi leaders at the Wannsee Conference engaged in extensive planning to carry out the so-called ‘final solution,’ exterminating Jewish people, Communists,
and other ‘undesirables;’ four years more proximate to the present passage, in 1946, over three quarters of a million steelworkers went on strike in a loud proclamation of discontent over half a decade of wage controls and war profiteering, and a male infant first opened his eyes who would rise as the film auteur and screenwriter, David Lynch; three years hence across the Atlantic, in 1949, Harry Truman announced in his inaugural address the establishment of a four part plan to aid poor countries with credits, cash, and commodities, an aspect of U.S. imperial plans at that juncture; a year later to the day, in 1950, a baby boy squalled loudly for the first time, eventually maturing into critic and poet Edward Hirsch; forty radio stations four years exactly past that point in time, in 1954, joined to create the National Negro Network to broadcast messages favorable to civil rights and more; three hundred sixty-five days down the road, in 1955, Pulitzer Prize poet Robert P.T. Coffin breathed his last; four years beyond that instant, in 1959, a male infant was born who would go on to wildly popular acclaim as a science fiction writer by the name of R.A. Salvatore; a ‘California poet,’ Robinson Jeffers, three years farther along the temporal arc, in 1962 died near his home in Carmel, California, where he had for years celebrated nature and self-reliance and opposed war; two years later still, in 1964, a baby boy drew his first breath on his way to a life as journalist and accused plagiarist Zareed Fakaria; half a decade and half a world onward, in 1969, East Pakistan police shot and killed a Bangladeshi activist, inciting uproar at least partially responsible for civil war and the creation of the nation of Bangladesh; three years after that, in 1972, Pakistan itself secretly inaugurated the program that led it to the acquisition of a sizable thermonuclear arsenal; ‘miraculously,’ within a half-hour of his inauguration nine years
henceforth, in 1981, Ronald Reagan received ‘credit’ for the release of the remaining hostages that Iran had held after ousting the Shah; five years later on the nose, in 1986, the U.S. first celebrate Martin Luther King Day; another five years hence, in 1991, seven thousand miles away in Sudan, the ruling government practically guaranteed civil war by declaring Sharia Law throughout the country, including in the Christian South; eight years closer to today’s light and air, in 1999, the China News Service instituted restrictions and penalties against untrammeled Internet access, especially in so-called Internet Cafes;thirteen more years in the direction of the here and now, in 2012, the iconic singer and gifted songwriter, Etta James, gave her swansong and died.