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Monday, October 24, 2016

Looking back through the haze of history, it’s hard to see clearly a time when an American president would be driven through the streets of a U.S. city in an open convertible, wind swirling through his hair, as President John Kennedy was on that fateful day in Dallas 50 years ago. Yet, that picture emerges from the latter part of the 20th century, the not-so-distant past.

It was hardly a more innocent time. I won’t indulge in that cheap sentimentality. Black Americans were still subject to the harsh lash of Jim Crow; many women were at the mercy of violent husbands; pedophiles in high places preyed on their victims without fear of penalty.

Still, November 1963 was, in many ways, a more naive era — one before gun violence became an emblem of American life, before security trappings took over public and private buildings, before ubiquitous surveillance cameras, before the vicious hatred of alienated men (and a few women) strafed our public commons.

John Kennedy wasn’t the first American president to be assassinated, of course. He wasn’t commander in chief during a violent revolt, when the very fate of the republic hung in the balance. He wasn’t even the sitting president during the tumult of the latter 1960s, when the craziness of an unnecessary war and the continuing protests of a long-suffering people seemed the catalysts that might spark genuine revolution.

But Kennedy’s assassination 50 years ago did mark the opening of that apocalyptic period, that combustible era when a great man could be gunned down on a hotel balcony or in the passageway of a hotel kitchen. And it marked the end of something else, too — some quaint notion of security, of comity, of patriotism.

How stunned we all were at the news that spread surprisingly quickly for an age before Twitter, Facebook and 24-hour cable news. Few moments could so convulse a nation and unite it in grief. Some of my elementary school classmates cried at the news of the president’s death.

I remember it as the first in a series of bleak, unspeakable moments, incomprehensible atrocities that later consumed Martin Luther King Jr. and, in rapid succession, Bobby Kennedy. When President Kennedy was shot, the bloodshed was only just beginning.

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  • rhallnj

    Kennedy would be most appalled and disbelieving of the rancid, toxic atmosphere in the Congress, the breakdown of norms of consensus and compromise, the deliberate sabotage of the public good, and the rise in fanaticism beyond anything the Birchers had to offer. He might well view all this as approaching treason, and entertain thoughts that the nation might not remain intact much longer.

  • Lovefacts

    I suspect Kennedy would not only be appalled but weep over the rise in fanaticism over the following: religion; racial hatred hardening; hating a president because he’s black; the denigration of the presidency; recent SCOUS rulings–i.e. declaring businesses people and able to donate to elections, thereby undoing over 120 years of court rulings, including those by SCOUS. I also think he’d believe he’d think any elected official signing the Norquist Pledge, and possibly even the existence of the Hastert Rule, guilty of treason because these individuals have put either party or special interests–businesses and the wealthy–ahead of the country’s best interests.

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    I cried when I heard Kennedy got Assassinated. I was in Junior High Science Class when the news of it came over the loudspeaker.

    With his death came a new form of politics and social behavior. Things have been improved dramatically on the fronts of discrimination and equality, at least on a legal platform……..

    But, the gains we have made have been overshadowed by a race of people who are determined to do their best to roll back all of the gains we have made since his assassination. And, I particularly mean the White Race and perpetrated primarily by the Republican Party.

    Kennedy would have been appalled by the partisanship in Congress. During his day, both parties worked towards the betterment of society, though it took many new laws and a few more years to implement.

    Now more than even, the gains we have made are trying to be circumvented by a race of Old White Men and Women, preliminary white people who fear a loss of power and control. With the changing demographics of the country, this is going to be inevitable. The White Race had better learn, adapt to changes that our country is going through, or through the vote, they might find themselves looking from the outside of the political process that they will be shut out of.

    Maybe this isn’t going to be such a bad thing. Revenge is sweetest when served cold. And, the White Race has done a lot of dirt to people from all races of people over the years and even to their own race to a lesser degree.

    Be Prepared White Bigoted America – your day is coming!

    • latebloomingrandma

      I was in junior high history class. The teachers were all out in the hall congregating and we wondered what was going on, that classes weren’t starting. Soon the dreadful news came over the PA system and we were all sent home for a few days. My Dad and I were glued to the TV for several days. Nothing was the same in this country after that day. I think the 60’s were the country’s collective nervous breakdown.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        I watched the Kennedy Funeral. I think I must of cried through the entire thing. Even Walter Cronkite Choked up on live TV.

        To be honest, I don’t know why I loved Kennedy as much as I did. Being a kid, I couldn’t have know about his politics. But, something about him just attracted me like no other president did before or after.

        If he were to have lived, who knows what his ultimate legacy would have been.

    • Mary Dambrosia


    • tax payer

      So, other Races aren’t Bigots is what I am reading. That occurs in every Race and not just the Whites.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        All Races can be bigoted to one degree or another.

        But, the only race that is so bigoted that it covers almost all human activity, in one form or another in just about every part of the world they infest, is white people. And, if they don’t have a reason to be bigoted, they’ll find one.

        I’m not saying all white people are this way. But, most are.

  • mandinka

    Kennedy would have been amazed that some one with no skills, experience or ability was elected by people who don’t pay taxes

    • charleo1

      There are so many things wrong with that statement, on so many
      different levels, it qualifies for my, STFU file.

      • mandinka

        I’m a war hero to this country, unlike our commander in chief

        • charleo1

          War heros can be wrong, just like everybody else. Obviously.

          • mandinka

            Not me. I’m a highly decorated war hero, and served under a very high profile General!

          • charleo1

            I know. General Lee. (I read your other post on Lincoln!)

        • Randy Grein

          So? Thank you for your service. Others also serve in other ways, and the whole point to a civilian commander in chief is that the military serves at OUR command, not the other way around.

          As for the current president, there are several things to note: There are no technical requirements for the office, but to say that he has no experience is outright foolishness. Skills, he certainly has, keeping at bay haters who STILL try to claim he is not a US citizen and ineligible to be President. He has kept more campaign promises than most Presidents, and his greatest failing should please you – he is well right of center. He would be a better President were he more liberal and less corporate.

          As to ability, he has far more than the previous office holder, whose incompetence mired us in an unnecessary war while distracting us from tracking a major terrorist during an admittedly necessary war. And need I remind you that the current President wound down two wars and allowed our military to find and take out that same terrorist? You don’t need to know how to make a gun to aim and pull the trigger.

          Finally, that line about not paying taxes is plain stupid. Even poor people pay taxes. They may not pay as much as I do, but they pay more than, say Exxon does – and more by income percentage than Mitt Romney. They may pay little or no INCOME tax, but you can’t possibly be ignorant enough to think that’s the only tax people pay.

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          I thank you for your service.

          However, did becoming a war hero make you any wiser? It don’t look it.

          You fought to protect your country, including our elected officials. And, you don’t need to have a service record to become President.

  • DurdyDawg

    I don’t think Kennedy would be appalled at all simply because he understood the vile nature of individual power.. His expedience during the Cuban crisis convinced him that we are all capable of things that power creates. I think he would more aptly try to break such links rather than see it as appalling.. Destroy the profit margin, end the tyranny. Today we call it fanaticism but it has been so since Eisenhower, it’s just in this age those same fanatics don’t care whether you recognize them or not.. more blatant, they no longer hide in shadows but come out in an attempt to snuff out the light.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      You got that all 100% right.

      And, not only this, but, when you consider the fact that the Supreme Court gave Corporations Human Rights, how open and in your face can it get?

      • silence dogood

        Not only would JFK be a Republican today. Nixon would be a democrat.

        • infadelicious

          JFK might throw up in his mouth a little when he hears Carolyn is pro abortion.

  • charleo1

    Tucker sites the strides made in Civil Rights since his assassination, as something
    Kennedy would have respected. And while that would be true. I believe he would
    also be appalled at the rate of decline of the American economy, in the intervening years since his death. He’d look at the millions of Americans out of work, and at the additional millions of two income households, working full time, for wages that barely cover their day to day living expenses. And he’d probably demand to know, who the hell allowed our manufacturing base to be outsourced to a Communist Country, no
    less? And how did it come about over the last 50 years, that 400 individuals at the top of this dangerously, deteriorating economic situation, come to control as much wealth as the bottom 150 million? And why the current crop of politicians don’t see this as a symptom of a much larger problem? And why aren’t there more of them trying to
    do anything about it? And even as he would be encouraged at the election of a
    person of color to the Presidency. I think he would also immediately recognize the
    T-party. Not only for what they are, and what they represent. But the reason they
    exist in the first place. And that realization would temper his initial optimism about the improvement of racial relations.

  • silence dogood

    Not only would JFK be a Republican today. Nixon would be a democrat…

    • charleo1

      Says who? Just because Nixon wasn’t a good enough liar to be a Republican.
      Don’t give him to us! I voted for Carter, twice. So, you can keep Reagan too.

      • silence dogood

        Try posting in the clarity of daytime.

        • charleo1

          All the Kennedys were Democrats. They are all still Democrats. And you still get Nixon. Clear enough?

          • silence dogood

            Everything JFK did suggests he would be a Republican. Everything RN did suggests he would be a democrat.
            You likely have a public school education.
            Your ignorance not likely your fault.

          • charleo1

            Is that right? Well, I’m certainly glad you’re so generous,
            with us products of public education. But, I don’t recall
            Kennedy threatening to close down the government, or
            cause a default on the Country’s debt, because members
            of the Republican Party wouldn’t agree to fund a space
            program that would take America to the moon. Or, a
            Republican Party, that would have characterized Kennedy’s initiative to introduce more Americans to the satisfaction of serving their Country, in the Peace Corp. Being compared to Hitler’s Youth Corp. As the current crop of nihilists did, when President Obama suggested the same thing. The truth about today’s GOP, is they believe in very little, outside of lowering corporate taxes, and eliminating those programs that help the poor, and Middle Class. No
            way would they have supported going to the moon. Even
            as all the technology created in that endeavor, has paid
            for the program hundreds of times over. No, they would have demagogued it as another tax, and spend Liberal program, that Americans were tired of paying for. And, besides it would be a Democrat getting the credit, and that alone would be enough reason to oppose it. So you really insult Kennedy, and give today’s Republican Party an accolade they in no way deserve. Kennedy was seeped in the tradition of FDR. That held government could be a positive force in moving the Country forward, and to make the lives of Americans better, and more productive. And, nothing could be more diametrically opposite to whatever
            it is, the Republican Party stand for today. And, if I had
            received my education in a private school, and didn’t know
            anymore about American history, and government than
            you seem to know. I’d file suit, and get my parent’s money back.

          • silence dogood


          • silence dogood

            “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” —opposite of the democrats

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            The ONLY reason Kennedy proposed funded the Space Program was to Trump Russia.

            All our government wanted to do was to beat them there and that’s all.

            Have you noticed, ever since then, we haven’t been back. China is due to colonize the Moon roughly in about another 10 years or so.

            But, watch and see what happens. As soon as China makes any serious effort towards that goal, the US will once again use the Moon as a Propaganda Weapon.

          • Oarboar

            And let’s also remember that it was Nixon that came up with the “Southern Strategy” for the Republicans, a strategy the GOP is still using today.

            It’s always amusing when conservatives think everyone else is as stupid and gullible as they are.

          • charleo1

            Well, we can’t blame them for wanting to have a hero, even
            if, they’re attempting to steal one of ours. It just doesn’t seem
            fair. We’ve got FDR, Kennedy, Clinton, and the first African
            American, and likely the first woman. And they have to discard
            Republicans all the way back to Eisenhower, if they don’t heap
            all their praise on Reagan. Which is not perfect, because he
            allowed amnesty to every undocumented foreigner in the
            Country. And set the course for the economic calamity that has
            decimated the Middle Class, and the Country’s manufacturing
            base. Plus, run up the National debt to the extent we went from
            being the World’s largest creditor Nation, to the World’s largest
            debtor Nation, on account of his proliferate spending, and whiz
            bang, trickle down economic formula.

  • TZToronto

    Gary Graves has an interesting point. The prevailing philosophy is that major corporations (especially financial institutions) are too big to fail, that their demise would bring horrific consequences for the economy as a whole. And after all, if huge corporations fail, their shareholders will suffer, and the effects will ripple outward to affect everyone. Well, here’s an idea. If shareholders allow the companies whose stock they own to perpetrate fraud, then the shareholders deserve to suffer when their companies die. Of course, it’s not the small investor who has any control over the companies he “owns.” It’s the corporate investors that actually have a say in the way their holdings, financially and ethically, perform. So instead of fining a company like JP Morgan billions of dollars for their malfeasance, how about simply nationalizing them. (The bad behavior will stop quickly.) Can all of the executives, and cancel their bonuses and severance payments. Make all of their stock options worthless. Charge them with the crimes they’ve committed. Re-create a company that serves clients, not executives and boards of directors. Axe traders and fund managers who knowingly created fraudulent financial instruments, and charge them with fraud. . . . Better yet, bring back Glass-Steagall. . . . And find a way to so punish outsourcers financially that they won’t do it any more. Tax corporations like ordinary people since, according the SCOTUS, that’s what they are. . . . I know that this is just a dream, but America won’t be the real America until business serves the people and the nation.

    • nirodha

      I agree that companies which violate ethical standards of doing business should be nationalized. Perhaps if JFK were president today, he would have taken a page from William Howard Taft’s “trust-busting”activities. Taft’s administration broke up Standard Oil and filed an anti-trust suit against U.S. Steel. Back in those days, JP Morgan was also guilty of the same sort of malfeasance that characterizes their behavior today. A slap on the wrist is meaningless to them; they need to be broken, just as they have broken so many others. As AG in his brother’s administration, Bobby would not have hesitated to take on the “too big to fail” cartels, and cut them down to size.

  • Stuart

    It’s always tedious to keep running across commentary that the past is either more naive than the present, or simply irrelevant.

    JFK’s assassination didn’t bring a new American era. It merely revived an old one: three presidents were assassinated in 36 years, 1865 to 1901. Plus there were failed attempts on Jackson, TR, FDR and Truman. (The attempt on Hoover was not in the U.S.)

    So, there’s very little new in American history. Another example: Jefferson and Madison were fighting Christian fundamentalists 200 years ago.

    • Bryan Blake

      Yes! And modern day CFunds try to claim Jefferson as their champion of the founding of the US as a “Christian Nation”. Of course Jefferson and many other Founders were Deist and attended Christian Churches only for “public consumption”. The CFunds are a perfect example of the old adage that states “…those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it”. They may believe in only one life to live but their politics is constantly reincarnating in new, but still rotting, corpses of religion. Want to have some fun? Tell CFunds that all christians are first Roman Catholics. Watch the steam shoot from their ears and nostrils! Ask them where the Bible came from and the most ubiquitous answers is: “It is the inerrant word of God!” Most CFunds don’t consider Catholics as really being Christians – what with their alternative worship of Mother Mary and the Saints. It is only the issue of abortion that has brought the two separate religions closer together. My Father’s family were CFunds and I grew up when there was a lull in their political activity. Even Roe v. Wade only sparked small sporadic protests until Right Wind Billionaires poured untold millions into creating politically active CFunds.

      So once again We The People are vexed by persons with extreme paranoia about our common end and unsure of salvation despite their irrational faith. I do not wish to deny them their right to believe in religion as they will. But I do deny them the right to use our various levels of government to institute their ultimate goal of turning our nation into a theocracy.

      As you can tell: “I do not like green easter eggs and religious scams!”

  • Bryan Blake

    I was in a freshman high school history class when the principal came to the door and motioned for our teacher to step outside. I was over 300 miles south of Dallas and the afternoon was sunny and cool – back when Texas actually had four distinct seasons. There were only two African-American students in the class and we had only been attending class together for two years. Our county was just as racist as the rest of Texas – but it was poor. Otherwise, African-American students would have been relegated to a “separate but unequal” school of their own. Fortunately my parents were Liberal Democrats and fought against the poll tax and many other laws that discriminated against and oppressed all minorities – including women. Because of the racist social structure of Texas I had little contact with African-Americans my age until I was invited into the US Army during the Vietnam War. Every level of government in Texas openly functioned under the premise of institutionalized racism. As I was growing up we frequently heard of lynchings of African-Americans around the state. While I did not experience racism I could see the pain of it on our African-American classmates at times. I also saw their constant unease in our surroundings – through them and the young men I met in the Army I saw that racism is a terrible penalty and pain inflicted upon “The Others” just for being human!

    Unfortunately, unlike Music, Racism did not have a day when it died!

    But JFK did, as we all will, have his day. It did not mark the end nor the beginning of an era. It simply marked the end of one man’s life. Nothing more, nothing less. It did mark the beginning of the idealization of JFK. America has always needed larger than life heroes – usually elevated to such status after their death. JFK is one those who was elevated to the company of Lincoln and others upon his death. JFK was a good man and a good president. But history has deprived us of knowing whether or not he would have been a great president. Like the vast majority of our presidents he accomplished too little to be idealized or achieve status as an icon. It was an assassin’s(s’) bullet(s) that gave him his virtual immorality beyond “his human coil”.

    My parents were big backers of both JFK and LBJ and worked tirelessly to get them elected. My father was president of a local labor union (a rare organization in Texas) and was in attendance In New York when Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to JFK. My father shot roles of film that included her singing and many shots of JFK. We watched in color what the TV only showed in black and white – but it had no sound. Through those films JFK became a real life person to me. My Father was there to capture and share, with many others, a few brief moments of the presidents time.

    So when I learned that the president had been killed almost fifty years ago it was almost like I had lost a “distant relative” that I had heard of but never met. Yes, there was a time when almost all of us had those kinds of relatives. We did not go back to class until the day after the nationally televised funeral for JFK was over. But the nation did not become quieter or more reflective. We simply continued down our loud and violent course we have sailed as a nation since our founding. And that is probably the course we will continue on as long as we have MONEY and RELIGION in politics.

    • charleo1

      You write like the kind of interesting fellow it would be great to have a cup
      of coffee with, or have over for dinner. A least that’s the way your writing
      comes across to me. I was 9 at the time of the assassination. A product of
      an ill fated marriage, it was my Great grandmother, in a small rural town
      in Southwest Mo. God bless this woman, who literally saved me from an orphanage. Or whatever they did with kids in those days, that had no
      family member willing to step up, and take them in. My Grandmother, as
      they say, “liked Ike,” a lot! And thought Nixon, by association, was just
      a swell fellow. And was very disappointed in Kennedy being elected.
      (Catholic as he was.) However it wasn’t long before I noticed a change
      in her tone of voice, when she would talk about Kennedy. Especially after
      the missile crisis. But, it was a comment she made about Kennedy’s hair.
      And, it was a shame his barber, or whoever cut his hair, did such
      a poor job on what was otherwise, was very handsome man. They let
      school out early for reasons I couldn’t quite understand. But who cares,
      I thought at the time. I came home to find my Grandmother crying, and attempting to hide her tears. This being only the second time I had seen
      this gentle, but usually tough as nails, woman display such emotion.
      The first time, being at the death of her husband of nearly 54 years.
      And I think Kennedy tended to make that kind of impression on people.
      Even with those who hadn’t initially thought they were going to like him.

      • Bryan Blake

        Thanks charleo1. I have followed your post and I know I would enjoy a cup of coffee with you. You sound like someone with who I could disagree about some issues and still have a pleasant and enlightening conversation. I was 15 when JFK was murdered. In 1963, people with different political views could fight tooth ‘n nail but at the end of the day put it all aside and share both the pleasantries and tragedies of life. The change you describe in your grandmother reminds me of many of my own relatives – especially with my father’s right wind christian kin. Their stalwart anti-Catholic viewpoint soften considerably with Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. We were a nation in fear that the unthinkable was about to happen. The look upon the faces of most adults was a mixture of fear, hope and resignation. If my brother and I were to be left home alone my mother gave the same instructions over and over about what to do if an attack warning was issued. The TV and/or the radio had to be on at all times. In my opinion it will be the Cuban Missile Crisis that will place JFK at the edge of greatness as a president. For me, as the memory of Dallas receded to the past, the missile crisis became the indelible profile of Kennedy. If history is to remember him as great it will be his role as commander-in-chief. So far, in my opinion, only Washington, Lincoln and FDR can be noted as great commanders-in-chief.

        I find it interesting that the Republicans have been trying to claim Kennedy as one of their own. Most of this seems to be motivated by his advocacy of reducing to top tax rate on the ultra-rich by a few points. But the Republicans cannot reconcile the fact that Kennedy by words and deeds would be opposed to so very much of what the Republican Party is today.

        As for grandmothers, my first generation German-American great-grandmother on my mom’s side believed that Kennedy was the continuation of the promises and policies of the Democratic Party and FDR. Fortunately for her she did not live long enough to see the collapse of the Democratic Party into the sick little puppy it is today.

        • charleo1

          Well, Thanks ever so much. Sorry, the thread, or my computer operator, whoever that is? Had not seen your post until just now. And I couldn’t be prouder to be included in the likes of your most informed company. And share some similar kin folk, and observations on Kennedy. As well as the state of the Democratic Party. It is my opinion you have a special gift when it comes to finding that right word, or phrase. And, your understanding of the subject, allows the reader to think, and learn, at times something as yet not considered, but very profound, at the heart of the matter. So, if you weren’t a professional writer, you missed one of your callings, to be sure. Someone said here, if it’s anything good for the people, it will never pass the House. But truth be told, both are carrying water for the corporations. The Democrats might sneak a little something in the pale for for the rest of us. But at the end of the day, people just don’t trump big money, and high priced lawyers anymore. And worse, I don’t believe that fact has hit home hard enough to make much of a difference with most people. But Hey! There’s always the slim chance I could be wrong. Lots of people tell me that very thing everyday!

  • tax payer

    That includes the millions of people that were alive when he died.

  • Liberalism is Nonsense

    If each of us were alike, our decisions, tastes, and actions would all be the same, there would be no reason for expressions such as “living my own life”, and there would be little case for liberty.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      Your above descriptive paragraph reminds me of a typical Republican – walk and talk in lockstep with absolutely no freedom of thought or action.

      You know, that great mythical land of illusion – the land of NO…….

      • Thomas Aquinas

        The source of that quote is renowned biochemist Roger Williams and his book Free and Unequal: The Biological Basis of Individual Liberty:

        Is there a particular grudge you harbour against science?

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          Sorry, I don’t know what comment you are commenting on.

          But, as a general statement, I love science and everything it entails. My fav hobbies are Physics and Astronomy:)

    • charleo1

      Republicans talk about liberty the way a teenage boys talks about his
      date’s chastity in the backseat of his Daddy’s car. They both can’t
      wait to get their hands on it!

  • MaatMenNefer

    I was in Spanish class that day; I remember my teacher, I even remember where I sat. the announcement began with the usual; ‘Will the people that ride bus # ..ride bus # 12 today”..and then came the message Kennedy was shot in Dallas. It was 2:00 PM EST and we had a half-hour to go..we all sat stunned, not believing. Both parents worked so I came home to empty house. I learned he was dead when I got home.I took a long walk and thought how many things were going to change…from my diary entry of that day:
    ‘The pure emotional import of it-a whole nation saying over and over again to itself “I don’t believe it.” A pall has fallen on the world…tonight my first wisdom tooth came through.”

    I was just barely two months past my 16th birthday.

  • Montesquieu

    Where majorities make choices and then pursuit of resulting goals is assigned to expert administrators, it will naturally become believed that any means necessary are legitimate in the majority’s name.

  • Thomas Aquinas

    Each of us should remember that the liberty school supports the liberty that keeps each of us free to unleash our own unique knowledge and talents toward prosperity.