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It was afternoon and I was on my way to a chemistry class. I had stopped for a drink of water when the news came over the speakers in the classrooms.

For those who weren’t alive at the time: remember what you felt on September 11, 2001 for a taste of November 22, 1963. It was a massive change for the worldview of my generation and it marked the beginning of a period of disruption and decline in the civility of American society. Arthur had died and Camelot fell.

At his inauguration John Kennedy made the point: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

The colors of my world will never be as bright as they were on November 21, 1963.

Last year, following the elections allowed myself a small portion of optimism about the future based on the results. I assumed that there would be a course correction and we would begin to repair some the damage of the Hedgemony. Alas, I was wrong as the corporations are more firmly in control than ever.


1 Moi { 11.22.09 at 10:06 am }

Nice Post, Bryan. ITA….
.-= last blog ..Sign the Petition =-.

2 Steve Bates { 11.22.09 at 10:15 am }

Duff, you forgot the sex. You’re supposed to mention all the extramarital sex JFK had. It’s what people of your ilk do, damn you. Without mentioning it, you haven’t slandered him in every possible way. Didn’t you get the memo?

Assassination is a terrifying way to change government in a nominal democracy. It imprints itself on one’s mind for life; I, too, can remember exactly where I was when the word came of Kennedy’s death. If you are able to mock us for mourning our loss, you are deficient in some fundamental part of your humanity. And you can fucking go to hell.
.-= last blog ..Forging Ahead: Odd Usage Of The Week =-.

3 Steve Bates { 11.22.09 at 10:28 am }

Bryan: thank you. I remember Kennedy as a symbol of the start of something good, and his death as the beginning instead of turbulent, violent times. We haven’t really emerged from those times yet. Here is my candle for JFK:

“Has anybody here seen my old friend John…”

4 cookie jill { 11.22.09 at 11:33 am }

I’m in Santa Barbara due to JFK (and Jackie) The Kennedy’s honeymooned in Santa Barbara up at the San Ysidro ranch. My parents thought that if the Kennedy’s could honeymoon in Santa Barbara…they would too. When my parents separated, my mother remembered how beautiful the City was and moved there.

Been living, leaving and coming back ever since.
.-= last blog ..November 22, 1963 =-.

5 Steve Bates { 11.22.09 at 3:24 pm }

Duff, you think I need to calm down? Go to hell. Go directly to hell. Do not pass Go; do not collect £200.

Are you really so ignorant that you think the death penalty in America was “stopped” and that a president did it? A quick glance at a Texas DCJ web site shows Texas has executed 445 offenders since 1982. “Stopped”? “Paused” is the correct assessment. And presidents aren’t part of the branch of government that makes those decisions. Once again, Duff, you show yourself to be fucking clueless about American government.

6 Bryan { 11.22.09 at 4:02 pm }

Mr. Duff, I have to assume that you have outlived your brain, as my Aunt Frieda use to say. If you had truly experienced the 1950s, you would understand the reaction to JFK, because it was an international phenomenon, much like the reaction to Princess Diana.

The US, especially the military, is still paying the cost of the policies of the Eisenhower administration, especially the actions of the Brothers Grim – John Foster Dulles at State and Allen Dulles at the CIA. The government put G-d on everything, and an alcoholic Republican Senator, Joe McCarthy, destroyed people at will with his anti-Communist witch hunts. It was an era of nuclear attack drills at grade schools and bomb shelters in your back yard. IOW, a standard Republican fit of paranoia that involved sending bushels of tax dollars to thugs everywhere smart enough to proclaim their opposition to the US enemy du jour.

JFK was a sunrise by comparison. He talked about going to the moon, not turning the earth into a lunar landscape. There was hope in land.

If you fail to understand that reality, what happens next in US history has no grounding. You can’t understand hippies or the anti-war movement, or the civil rights movement, or the foundations of how “baby boomers” react to politicians and the world.

The cynicism of boomers dates to the assassination of JFK and is strengthened when MLK is murdered, followed by RFK. These are acts of rightwing terrorists and their supporters.

Oh, regarding Vietnam, if you look in the photo archives of the French actions in what was then called French Indochina, you will see pictures of USAF C-119 aircraft, the Flying Boxcars, supplying French troops. John and Allen thought it was necessary, and Ike decided to help an ally. The pictures were in Life magazine in the US, but I’m sure that British periodicals covered the action.

7 abi { 11.22.09 at 5:48 pm }

As terrible a day as 9/11/01 was, 11/22/63 really was the demarcation point between what was (and could have been) and what is. Day and night.

I’m not saying that if JFK had lived, we’d now be living in a world of peace and love and kumbaya. But I think the argument can be made that he would never have allowed our participation in the Vietnam civil war to get so out of control. Bill Moyers had a great show the other night featuring taped conversations LBJ had before the Gulf of Tonkin, agonizing over how he could “neutralize” our involvement in something he knew we couldn’t win. In the end the generals convinced him to commit us to that nightmare. I’m not sure JFK would have caved like that. He stood up to his generals during the Cuban missle confrontation with the USSR, and he may well have had the balls to do the same in Vietnam.

But we’ll never know.

Bryan, last November I also allowed myself to hope that we’d be seeing “change you can believe in” by now. But down deep I knew better. We won’t see real change in this country until we stop being hoodwinked into believing that buying politicians comes under the protection of free speech.

8 Kryten42 { 11.22.09 at 7:16 pm }

Agree totally Bryan. My mother cried when the news came that JFK had been assassinated. The media here were in shock. I was pretty young, and didn’t really understand what was happening, but I did understand that something really important and bad had happened. My Grandfather explained it to me years later.

Ignore Homer. He’s obviously either a GOP stooge, or just a completely ignorant tool. He probably really lives in Kansas, or once did. I bet he has keeps a photo of Toto under his pillow.

What you said Steve! 🙂

9 Bryan { 11.22.09 at 9:05 pm }

Welcome, Abi. I was very happy to hear our newest Supreme Court justice questioning the entire concept of corporations as people, because they have more control over politics that the actual voters. It is really annoying that they main benchmark of political strength among candidates is their ability to raise money. Even in my sparsely populated area, candidates rely more on media that actually going around to meet people, something that was normal in the medium-sized city I lived in when I was in New York state. Bill Proxmire, a Senator from Wisconsin for 32 years, spent about $200 on each of his last two campaigns, and a lot of that was postage to return campaign contributions, because he didn’t accept them. He wanted public financing of elections, and he wasn’t in favor of making the amount spent very large. The First Amendment is supposed to be about FREE speech. Equating money with speech would see to me to be a rather obvious contradiction.

Actually, Kryten, I just consider the source. Anyone who hasn’t figured out that Obama isn’t a liberal, is fairly isolated from reality.

10 Jack K., the Grumpy Forester { 11.22.09 at 10:14 pm }

…ok, so maybe I was just a little kid at the time, but I have a crystal clear memory of the intercom announcement in my third-grade classroom just a little bit before lunch that the President had been shot. It had been only just over a year before that the Cuban Missile Crisis had created a far too clear understanding in my seven-year-old brain – owing mostly to my parents being unable to effectively hide their concerns and all those evening news programs over those gripping days – that I was living in a time where actually making it to adulthood was the sort of “maybe/maybe not” proposition that didn’t seem to have good odds…

I don’t know if there is such a thing as “little kid PTSD”, but I do suspect that Nov. 22, 1963, and pretty much all of 1968 are probably the fertile fields that nurtured the seeds of the hopelessly brutal cynicism that has colored my adult life…

By the way: nice one, Kryten. I laughed out loud at that “Kansas” poseur reference. You’re probably right…

11 Bryan { 11.22.09 at 11:39 pm }

I can believe that kids were traumatized, if for no other reason than the way all of the adults reacted.

Yeah, “duck and cover” got a bit more urgent after the missile crisis. It was a tense and scary time for those of us that lived through it. That’s why LBJ’s daisy ad was so effective when he ran against Goldwater.

12 Comrade Kevin { 11.23.09 at 7:58 am }

Old entanglements are hard to break. As for JFK, since I grew up in a staunchly anti-Kennedy family, the outpouring of grief regarding his death and Ted’s death rings a bit hollow for me. I wish it did not.

I wish we had a President along the lines of Jackson who took on the Bank of the United States and, despite its power, successfully killed it.
.-= last blog ..Who Do We Trust with Our Tax Dollars? Who Should We Trust, Instead? =-.

13 Steve Bates { 11.23.09 at 10:46 am }

Bryan, we should envy you. It’s not every blog that has its own Fred Phelps. (Aside to those who don’t follow the news very well: Phelps and his cohort go to the funerals of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, make a lot of noise and hold up signs reading, “God Hates Fags.” They do this even when there is no indication the dead soldier was gay.)

Until the past few months, I’ve thought I was about the crankiest, rudest old fart I knew. But here I am out of my league: I’ve never disrupted a memorial post, no matter what I thought of the deceased. Doing so is simply outside the pale. And anyone who does so (*cough* Duff *cough*) deserves whatever verbal abuse comes his way.
.-= last blog ..So Much For Loving Thy Neighbor =-.

14 JimD { 11.23.09 at 11:52 am }

Thanks, not many posts out there this 11/22.

I believe it was the beginning of the end of us.

15 Bryan { 11.23.09 at 3:05 pm }

No, Mr. Duff, I didn’t say JFK wasn’t involved in Southeast Asia, I was pointing out that US involvement started in the previous, Republican, administration. This is a recurring problem in the US – Democratic administrations have to clean up Republican messes.

Political assassination is not exactly a common experience, even in the US, and it tends to be remembered. A new generation taking control tends to lift spirits. The US was ready for progress, and ready to move forward after the stagnation following World War II. You weren’t part of it, so you can’t understand how we felt. On some level, Britain went through it earlier with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, as the war time leader was replaced by a new generation.

CK, it would be nice if our current President could find a small portion of the Jackson spirit. Kennedy wasn’t everyone’s choice, but it was similar to going from black and white to color TV – the Eisenhower years were a really depressing gray scale, and Nixon promised more of the same. As for Ted Kennedy, I can never forget what he did in 1980, and how it helped put Reagan in office.

Now, Steve, he can’t help it, he’s a “conservative”.

You have been doing a great series, Jim, and it highlights a major reason for boomer cynicism – they didn’t investigate, they covered things up. It was more a matter of bad police work, in my mind, than a real conspiracy, as the Dalles Police Department was not exactly a leading edge operation.

In the 1960s too many crimes were ‘solved” by finding a anyone in the area and creating the evidence to convict them. The problem was not limited to black suspects being railroaded, nor was it limited to the South.

Lee Harvey Oswald was one of the “usual” suspects, so he got picked. Jack Ruby was another, who would make sure there was no inconvenient trial.

16 Kryten42 { 11.23.09 at 7:53 pm }

Steve: Until the past few months, I’ve thought I was about the crankiest, rudest old fart I knew. But here I am out of my league: I’ve never disrupted a memorial post, no matter what I thought of the deceased. Doing so is simply outside the pale. And anyone who does so (*cough* Duff *cough*) deserves whatever verbal abuse comes his way.

Amen. (Though, I never thought of you as ‘cranky’! You’ve usually had legitimate rights to be annoyed, and given all that is happening, and has happened this past decade and beyond… What sane person wouldn’t be)! AND PS… I’m not competing, I just easily find myself annoyed at obvious stupidity and ignorance that is very easily overcome these days. There is no legitimate excuse other than wanting to be stupid and ignorant.) 😉

WARNING: If you are easily offended, stop reading!

I was mainly annoyed because this *IS* Bryan’s blog, and JFK is obviously a topic (and person) important to him. And his reasons are nobody else’s concern. Duff showed blatant disrespect, not only to the memory of JFK (as you say, outside the pale), but was (and is) also disrespectful to Bryan. Duff shows his immaturity and ignorance with every comment he makes here. We don’t go over to Duff’s blog (I feel nauseous thinking about it) and crap all over his place, and he’s obviously bored with his blog (and has no bathroom) since he comes here often to take a dump. Jealous I guess, most immature fools are easily jealous.

Here’s a hint Homer, if you want a really big cesspool with lot’s of like-minded fools that will stroke your ego, go to LGF or Malkin’s etc. You’ll fit right in there. 🙂 The only toilet training that goes on here is for the kitties. And you are no cat, though you may well be a pussy. 🙂

17 Bryan { 11.23.09 at 10:42 pm }

JFK that man was deeply flawed, but this was about a time and turning point in American history. As I said, if you don’t understand that event, you can’t understand what followed.

I didn’t equate the JFK years with Camelot, the media did. That was the media’s term, as those who were alive at the time and paid attention would remember. That was a popular culture reference, just as referring to the Eisenhower years as the era of “Father Knows Best” or “Leave It To Beaver”. These were the common myths of their periods.

I really, truly believe in freedom of speech, and all of the other provisions of the Bill of Rights. I have lived in countries were they weren’t available to the local people, so I appreciate their worth.

Now that the wingnuts are talking in code of assassination [Pslam 109.8], they should understand what they are sowing, and what they can expect to reap as a result.