Today I was reading Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851. The work was first published on October 18, 1851 by Richard Bentley, in London, England. Here is the part that freaked me out: Ishmael is recounting how Fate drove him to look for work on a whaling vessel, the reason he became entangled in Ahab's mad quest for the White Whale. This appears on page 3 of the edition I was reading: But wherefore it was that after having repeatedly smelt the sea as a merchant sailor, I should now take it into my head to go on a whaling voyage; this the invisible police officer of the Fates, who has the constant surveillance of me, and secretly dogs me, and influences me in some unaccountable way - he can better answer than any one else. And, doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this:

Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States

Whaling Voyage by one Ishmael


I recalled recent events... The last election in the United States and the recent War on Terrorism. At first I thought I had read incorrectly. Then I started to really think about it. Presidential contests have always been hotly contested in the United States. Surely the same thing could be happening in Melville's time. In fact in 1848, the election of Zachary Taylor took place. Afghanistan has never been a peaceful place. The so called 1st Afghan War occurred in 1839-42. These timeframes seem to explain the quotations. But it still seems creepy and familiar. History does seem to have a habit of repeating itself.

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