Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK and the American Political Watershed

Well, it has been a while since I posted on here. Four major things going on at once makes my blog, especially this, my hard-edged blog, back burner existence.

Today, everyone knows in the United States by the wealth of media and social media information that today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of a young President.  Forever scarred into American memory.

JFK poured so much into the American soul: ask not what your country can do statement; Peace Corps, NASA; nuclear arms control. We still have these today.  We as a country have been blessed by their presence.

After making the right decisions over the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK was a certifiable political rock star. His approval ratings in February 1963 was sky high over 70 percent.

But by the summer of 1963, his ratings had plummeted.  Unknown to him, as there was no crystal ball, he had no idea that the Republicans in 1964 would nominate someone easily beatable in Goldwater. JFK's sudden drop of approval came in large part in the hands of Democrats in the South. JFK had made a speech equating civil rights as an American moral issue and that black men and women should have those rights. This was said in the midst of the Jim Crow South. De facto American apartheid. JFK backed publicly on TV legislation that would become, after his death, the Civil Rights Act.

The razor-thin victory in 1960 haunted JFK's advisers; losing the Democratic vote in the South was not a strategy for re-election in 1964.  Despite the haranguing, JFK's advisers were not supporting any trip to Texas, especially Dallas. Adalai Stevenson was pelted with angry taunts just a few weeks before JFK's fateful Dallas visit.  But Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson insisted that JFK had to go to Texas; the vice president's home state.  The 1964 primaries would be starting in February, and the state of Texas support had to be shored up was Johnson's line of reasoning. So to Texas, JFK went.

His death was the watershed moment of the body of American politic. Nothing has really been the same ever since. I would even say the decline of America began in November 1963.

The rebellious movement of the Sixties was tantamount to societal disillusionment.  Individual greed over societal compassion that started in the Seventies, and still evolving today, grew out of that disillusionment.

My apologies to Don McLean--Bye bye American Pie, Drove my Chevy to levee but the levee was dry on the Day America Died. 

No comments:

Post a Comment