The Death That Shaped a Generation

No, I’m not talking about Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, though by coincidence, he happened to be killed on this day in 1718.  If you’ve been watching the news, you know I’m talking about John Fitzgerald Kennedy, because today is the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

We’re all supposed to remember what we were doing on November 22, 1963.  I was around, but being four years old, my memories from that day aren’t meaningful.  What I meanly remember are the TV stations pre-empting "Captain Kangaroo" and "J. P. Patches" (Seattle’s favorite clown), for coverage of the funeral.  If you’re looking for reminiscing, try comedian Tim Wilson’s story about his lying uncle on that day.  You can listen to him tell it at , or just read the transcript below:

Tim Wilson: "Uncle B.S – where were you on November 22, 1963?"

Uncle B.S: "November 22, 1963. Lemme think a second. That’s the day that we all s’posed to remember where we was.

"I’s working at a school book depository in Dallas, Texas. Houghton-Mifflin had just come out with that new math, with them real thick math books.  And it was hard to pick up them boxes up by youself.  I told ’em, ‘Y’all gotta get somebody in her to help me with them boxes.’

"And they hired a fella named Harvey sumpthin’. I can’t think of his name. He’d been in a Marine corps, and I, of course, was in the Navy for 5 years. He kept braggin’ about what a great shot the Marine Corps was as opposed to your Naval forces.

"I said, ‘I tell you what, you little pinko Commie bastard! This afternoon, at lunch, I want you to go back to yer boardin’ house and get bring back your rifle. I got two tickets to the Texas theater says you can’t hit that manhole cover, down there, by that grassy knoll’."

"You know he cracked off 4 shots?  Damn, if the President of the United States didn’t drive by at that exact moment. And we felt bad about that."


Unquote:  What amazes me is that whenever somebody makes a list of the greatest US presidents, Kennedy is usually on the list, but these days, we are more interested in how he died than how he lived.  It shows on my webpage about the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidencies ( ).  While I wrote a suitably long section about the accomplishments of the Kennedy administration, I also had to include a section on the assassination, its aftermath, and all the conspiracy theories it has produced.

I think I know why we have that morbid interest, and why so few people these are asking what they can do for the country, as Kennedy said.  The most important paragraph on my page may be the one about how liberals were changed in 1963.  Quote:

Perhaps these theories are the reason for the transformation that occurred among liberals in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. The Left acted like it had lost its innocence, and subsequent events like Vietnam and Watergate seemed to reinforce the new attitude. In the past liberals had believed that the United States could be a force for good in the world; now they were more likely to blame America first when things weren’t going right, and demand perfect behavior from the United States, while overlooking the shortcomings of nations with left-wing governments. These neo-liberals called themselves the "New Left," to separate themselves from the "Old Left" that had run the Democratic Party for most of the past century.

Unquote:  In 1972 the New Left secured the nomination of George McGovern as the Democratic Party candidate.  However, he went down in flames on Election Day, though when looking back, Richard Nixon also seems rather liberal, as Republicans go.  Over the next generation, the New Left gradually gained control over the Democratic Party; that is why today’s Democrats look so moonbatty, compared with the Old Left.  The last member of the Old Left I can think of is Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, and he retired last year.  Since the 2008 election, the New Left has run this country as well.

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