Sunday, November 3, 2013

We Hardly Knew

In a few weeks we will acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.  Thousands of books and hundreds of conspiracy theories later, that day, that event, that moment in time continues to be the defining experience (albeit a tragedy) for my generation.
In thinking about that day, how it began and ended, I realize that my recollections are all filtered through the mind of an adolescent.  Yet November 22, 1963, and the weekend that followed proved to be the tipping point for the remainder of my life.

I will recall that day and the days that followed another time.  As the anniversary nears, and even more books and made for TV movies surface, the Kennedy administration with all it' mythology and curiosity provides a crucial background with which to assess the current political scene.
Today, we see democracy threatened in so many ways.  The rise of the Plutocrat, the huge disparity in wealth, the regressions of the Civil Rights movement all stand out.  The current attack on public schools fits neatly into this portrait because so many of the nations young people were in school when the assassination went down.
It will be interesting to see how the media handle all this.  The troubled history of the Kennedy brothers, the over romanticising of Camelot on the Potomac, JFK the philanderer,  the master of political brinkmanship, the good-looking charming diplomat, the skilled politician, the husband and father, the unfinished agenda will all fall into line as talking points.
Whatever happens between the 2nd and the 22nd, one thing is for sure.  People will repeatedly say that this is one of those rare moments in a lifetime when they knew exactly where they were and what they were doing when they got the news.
In retrospect, that's a very good place to start.  The loss of innocence that began that instant continues to this day.  That too is a good place to the pieces together.

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