This afternoon, I watched an interview with Paul McCartney, a singer, songwriter, and musician best known for being a member of the Beatles band. He spoke of his relationship with John Lennon and that an important part of his life was when they co-wrote over 300 songs.
That got me thinking about John’s untimely death and how that changed our world from his passing. I have occasionally thought back on influential historical figures who have been taken from us early in their life. What would have happened if they had lived? Would their living positively, negatively, or neutrally affect the rest of us? Yeah, I know, “what ifs” are a waste of time. I guess it is my crazy way of looking at the world that tickles my fancy.
For example, what if Martin Luther King Jr. had not been assassinated? As it is, he became a martyr and an icon for civil rights. His influence may have been more significant because of his death than if he had lived. You can hardly have a conversation about black America without his name being part of it. We have an official holiday for him; streets, buildings, and schools all over the U. S. are named after him, and he is often quoted from his speeches, especially the “I Have a Dream” speech.
He undoubtedly would have been a force to be reckoned with had he lived, but he did have enemies. However, because he was assassinated, his many detractors and adversaries lost any reason to continue their campaign to stop his messages and popularity. If he had lived, a push by the government, especially the FBI, could have created a smear campaign that may have damaged his effectiveness. If he had lived a long life, he would now be 93 years old. We will never know what history would look like if he had lived.
There are an endless number of influential people in the history of this country who could be the subject of speculation. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Karen Silkwood, and John Lennon.
But why stop there? We could do “What Ifs” on events that have far-reaching effects. Consider what our nation would be like if the British had won our Revolutionary War. Canada and the U. S. would probably be one country. Just think, you and I would be British subjects and pay tax on our tea. (we would be tea drinkers, ya know)
Okay, if we won that one and lost the Civil War to the South. Yea, gads. Of course, we could be so weakened that the British might try again.
Ahhh, I am sure you are bored by now, so I better stop before the tomatoes start flying my way. Don’t worry; I rarely do “What Ifs”, but I do enjoy speculation on many subjects when I am in the mood. My imagination seems to come up with an endless variety of grists for my mind’s mill.
If any of you would like a custom “What If” written up for you on some subject. I will happily provide one for twenty cents a word, five hundred words minimum. Call it an imagination fee. 😁