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What if?

In his intriguing new historical novel, Then Everything Changed, political commentator Jeff Greenfield posits how events might have played out under three different scenarios: had Lyndon Johnson been elected president in 1960; had Robert F. Kennedy survived an assassin’s bullet and been elected president in 1968; and if Gerald Ford had won the 1976 election.

I will not spoil Greenfield’s masterful work by detailing his alternative history. Rather, I mention the book because it has spurred me to think of “what ifs” both historical and personal, an exercise that sparks my imagination and makes me feel grateful.

What if Clement Haynsworth or G. Harrold Carswell had won Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court? President Richard Nixon would not have had to resort to his third choice, Harry A. Blackmun, who wrote the high court’s opinion in Roe v. Wade.

What if Ralph Branca had walked Bobby Thompson and pitched to the next batter (a rookie named Willie Mays)? The New York Giants might not have won the 1951 pennant.

What if Florida had electronic voting on Election Day 2000? President Gore, perhaps.

What if Jeffrey Maier had left to get a hot dog when Derek Jeter was at bat? A banner might be flying in Baltimore.

What if she weren’t in her sorority house to take my call? But I digress.

Please submit your “what ifs.”