Sunday, November 22, 2015
The anniversary of JFK's death
A handsome man who in ways reflected the better era he was a part of, and sincerely anti-Communist. (He was sickly all his life and gangly as a young man. Cortisone treatment in the '50s for his Addison's disease gave him his famous chunky look. Epitomizing the era, Camelot was largely his beautiful wife's creation.) That said, I'm not part of his cultus (media promotion going back to when his father wanted to be president; the Kennedys have been part of the American imagination since the late '30s). I have a Nixon campaign souvenir on my desk, next to a Goldwater one. (As young congressmen, he and Kennedy were once friendly, fellow anti-Communists. If not for Nixon's understandable insecurity — Kennedy stole the election — which enabled the Sixties to knock him down, he would be remembered as a great statesman, governing non-ideologically.) Kennedy's nominal Catholicism didn't matter but I understand why so many of us supported him (most of us were Democrats: labor, unions, but socially conservative; the appealing notion that one of our own was coming in). He didn't fool Cardinal Spellman. Besides, knowing he had the Catholic vote, he basically disowned the church in a speech, just like Catholic Democrats now. Anyway, what a horrible way to die; such a glamorous figure doing so hurt the country very much. We'll probably never know the truth but I believe it was a conspiracy. Oswald was probably an American agent (being a lone Red nut was his cover). Could have been working for Johnson (he and Kennedy hated each other) or the CIA. The Mafia wanted Kennedy dead too (they helped get him in but his brother turned on them as attorney general); maybe one of their men fired the fatal shot from the grassy knoll. And I don't believe the boomer mythology that Kennedy's death kicked off the Sixties; that rot set in later (I saw it win by 1973). God have mercy on him.