The Myth Of JFK
The life of JFK is, perhaps, the most documented life ever lived. People alive in his time, whether they voted for him or not, or even whether they were old enough to vote for him or not, have a romanticized vision of him and his life that simply doesn’t comport with the reality of objective observation and knowledge gained over time.
Not everyone, certainly, shares this view, but it cuts a wide swath through all demographics and has the stamina of 50 years behind it.
This is where you lose me.
President Kennedy remains popular with journalists and historians, but was not a popular president with the American people at the time. His re-election in 1964 was not certain. It was, in fact, a long shot at the time of his murder.
His presidency was, for the most part, a non-event. The Bay of Pigs was a fiasco, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought us to the brink of nuclear war, cost us missiles in Turkey and doomed Cuba to the underside of the Fidel Castro’s boot to this day.
On civil rights, something for which President Kennedy receives much credit and praise, he did little more than pay lip service to the concept. My friend and a host of the C4 Show on WBAL right before my show, Clarence Mitchell IV, whose grandfather was Clarence Mitchell Jr., the chief lobbyist for the NAACP during the Kennedy years, tells me, “My grandfather always said President Kennedy, at the insistence of his brother Bobby, was not a champion of civil rights, that he was actually an obstacle. He kept things slow because he wanted the support of southern Democrats. It wasn’t about right and wrong with them, it was about what would get them the most votes.”
President Kennedy is given credit for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but he had little to do with it aside from having spoken on the subject a few times. In fact, C4 tells me that in August of 1963 there was a “big meeting” of civil rights leaders at the White House with the Kennedy brothers because there was talk that they might not endorse JFK’s reelection. They were promised what politicians always promise voting blocs they’re stringing along – action after the election. Tragedy intervened, so we’ll never know what he might have done, but we do know what he did do and that wasn’t much at all.
In fact, it seems nearly every positive development of that era is somehow credited to JFK – even those he had little to nothing to do with. It’s just been credited to him, or imposed on him, as part of the myth-making surrounding “Camelot.”
President Kennedy was a great orator and a master at public relations. He also had a press corps that adored him, thus insulating him from reality in the annals of history. (Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it?)
The “Camelot” legend was myth, constructed to obscure the reality of a despicable man elected through fraud and an unholy alliance with the mafia in Chicago. The real John F. Kennedy was a womanizing misogynist, a spoiled brat who ran for the U.S. Senate for lack of anything else to do and to feed his controlling father’s ego. Just eight years and very few accomplishments later, he sought the presidency for much the same reason.
He was a reckless man, sleeping with interns, girlfriends of mafia bosses, Russian spies and seemingly anyone else willing. He took his job seriously enough, but in perhaps the most blatant act of corruption since Teapot Dome, appointed his own brother Attorney General of the United States. Kennedys are loyal to Kennedys first; there is no second. The idea that Robert Kennedy could be trusted to, if called for, investigate possible corrupt actions of President Kennedy is laughable.
After his tragic assassination, the Kennedy myth-making started and hasn’t stopped. It started with the coaching of 3-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. to salute his father’s coffin for the cameras as the procession passed, and it continues to this day. Even his gravesite is a testament to that myth.
President Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and rightfully so. He did serve our country with honor in World War II. But real estate at Arlington is at a premium, with our heroes buried in close proximity to each other to accommodate all who deserve it. Yet the JFK gravesite sits alone in a large otherwise-vacant plot. I don’t begrudge him the eternal flame – though that seems a bit much. But his wife is buried next to him in spite of remarrying, and his brother, Robert, is buried in the special "Kennedy only section" of the cemetery too.
This “devout Catholic” family exemplifies hypocrisy on every level – from their bootlegging beginnings to their philandering lifestyle, there is very little about their legend that stands up to even the most cursory of scrutiny. Despite this fact, hours of television time, gallons of ink and gigabytes of web-space will be dedicated to how extraordinary JFK was, how they all were.
It’s simply not true.
There’s something to be said for being an inspiration, and JFK was – though far more after his death than when he was alive. But there’s more to be said in favor of reality.
It’s conventional wisdom to say the nation lost its innocence 50 years ago at the hands of a left-wing assassin in Dallas, and in some ways that’s true. But given the continuing naïveté surrounding the presidency of John F. Kennedy and the entire Kennedy clan, it’s clear there’s still a lot of innocence, willful as it may be, around today.
But he spoke well at times
In the wake of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and in light of Ira Stoll’s new book JFK, Conservative, we decided to pull together 12 of JFK’s most conservative quotes.
1. The American character has been not only religious, idealistic, and patriotic, but because of these it has been essentially individual. -- Independence Day Oration, July 4th, 1946
2. Conceived in Grecian thought, strengthened by Christian morality, and stamped indelibly into American political philosophy, the right of the individual against the State is the keystone of our Constitution. Each man is free. --Independence Day Oration, July 4th, 1946
3. In Revolutionary times, the cry “No taxation without representation” was not an economic complaint. Rather, it was directly traceable to the eminently fair and just principle that no sovereign power has the right to govern without the consent of the governed. Anything short of that was tyranny. It was against this tyranny that the colonists “fired the shot heard ’round the world.” -- Independence Day Oration, July 4th, 1946
4. The ever expanding power of the federal government, the absorption of many of the functions that states and cities once considered to be responsibilities of their own, must now be a source of concern to all those who believe as did the great patriot, Henry Grattan that: “Control over local affairs is the essence of liberty.” -- Commencement Address, University of Notre Dame, January 29, 1950
5. I’d be very happy to tell them I’m not a liberal at all…I’m not comfortable with those people. -- Saturday Evening Post, June 1953
6. I say this not because I believe Christianity is a weapon in the present world struggle, but because I believe religion itself is at the root of the struggle, not in terms of the physical organizations of Christianity versus those of Atheism, but in terms of Good versus Evil, right versus wrong… Our minds, like the headlines of our newspapers, are intent upon the present and future conflicts of armed might, and upon the brutal, physical side of that ominous war upon which we have bestowed the strange epithet “cold”. We tend to forget the moral and spiritual issues which inhere in the fateful encounter of which the physical war is but one manifestation. We tend to forget those ideals and faiths and philosophical needs which drive men far more intensively than military and economic objectives. -- Commencement Address, Assumption College, June 3, 1955
7. But in “the stern encounter”, in the moral struggle, religion is not simply a weapon- it is the essence of the struggle itself. The Communist rulers do not fear the phraseology of religion, or the ceremonies and churches and denomination organizations. On the contrary, they leave no stone unturned in seeking to turn these aspects of religion to their own advantage and to use the trappings of religion in order to cement the obedience of their people. What they fear is the profound consequences of a religion that is lived and not merely acknowledged. They fear especially man’s response to spiritual and ethical stimuli, not merely material. A society which seeks to make the worship of the State the ultimate objective of life cannot permit a higher loyalty, a faith in God, a belief in a religion that elevates the individual, acknowledges his true value and teaches him devotion and responsibility to something beyond the here and now [Emphasis ours]. The communist fear Christianity more as a way of life than as a weapon. In short, there is room in a totalitarian system for churches- but there is no room for God. The claim of the State most be total, and no other loyalty, and no other philosophy of life can be tolerated. -- Commencement Address, Assumption College, June 3, 1955
8. This administration is pledged to a Federal revenue system that balances the budget over the years of the economic cycle – yielding surpluses for debt retirement in times of high employment that more than offset the deficits which accompany – and indeed help overcome – low levels of economic activity in poor years…Debt retirement at high employment contributes to economic growth by releasing savings for productive investment by private enterprise and State and local governments.” -- Special Message to the Congress: Program for Economic Recovery and Growth, February 2, 1961
9. If it is in the public interest to maintain an industry, it is clearly not in the public interest by the impact of regulatory authority to destroy its otherwise viable way of life. -- Special Message to the Congress on Regulatory Agencies, April 13, 1961
10. While government economists can point out the necessity of increasing the rates of investment, of modernizing plant and productivity, while Washington officials may urge responsible collective bargaining and responsible wage-price decisions, we also recognize that beneath all the laws and guidelines and tax policies and stimulants we can provide, these matters all come down, quite properly in the last analysis, to private decisions by private individuals. -- Address Before the United States Chamber of Commerce on Its 50th Anniversary, April 30, 1962
11. We want prosperity and in a free enterprise system there can be no prosperity with profit. We want a growing economy and there can be no growth without the investment that is inspired and financed by profit. We want to maintain our natural security and other essential programs and we will have little revenue to finance them unless there is profit. We want to improve our balance of payments without reducing our commitments abroad, and we cannot increase our export surplus, which we must, without modernizing our plants through profit…In short, our primary challenge is not how to divide the economic pie, but how to enlarge it. -- Address Before the United States Chamber of Commerce on Its 50th Anniversary, April 30, 1962
12. This administration intends to cut taxes in order to build the fundamental strength of our economy, to remove a serious barrier to long-term growth, to increase incentives by routing out inequities and complexities and to prevent the even greater budget deficit that a lagging economy would otherwise surely produce. The worst deficit comes from a recession, and if we can take the proper action in the proper time, this can be the most important step we could take to prevent another recession. That is the right kind of tax cut both for your family budget and the national budget…Every dollar released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary. And these new jobs and new salaries can create other jobs and other salaries and more customers and more growth for an expanding American economy. -- Radio and Television Report to the American People on the State of the National Economy, August 13, 1962
Public dissent from the JFK story not allowed
A fast-moving wall of law enforcement officers assaulted a group of protesters and journalists led by Alex Jones of Infowars inside the perimeter of Dealey Plaza in Dallas shortly after the city’s official memorial of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
The mêlée began around 1:45 p.m., shortly after Jones, with the assistance of a bullhorn, spoke out against the mainstream media and the government’s official story about the assassination of JFK.
“It was definitely the Feds” leading the Dallas County sheriffs, said Jones after the chaos subsided, “We’re going to get lawyers, we are going to sue them.”
Jones said he was punched in the stomach during the police assault.
Initial witness accounts suggest that the Dallas County Sherriff’s Department, and not the Dallas Police Department, was the agency directly involved in the scuffle. Jones maintains that Dallas Police allowed the group to move into the area.
Some officers pushed and shoved the protesters and journalists, while other officers behind them brought in movable metal barricades.
Infowars and Storyleak correspondent Anthony Gucciardi stated during the continuing internet livestream of the event that the sheriff’s department deputies came from the direction of homeland security fusion center command vehicle.
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