Tuesday, May 30, 2017

1917-2017: Jack Kennedy at 100

Jack kibitzing with Jimmy Durante
  
"Let the word go forth from this time and place - to friend and foe alike - that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans; born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world."
 
President Kennedy, 20 January 1961
 
That was then. This is now.
 
I wanted to write this one yesterday but was unable to get online for some silly reason. Forgive my tardiness on so important a centennial. Things happen, you know?
 
Ten years ago yesterday on the ninetieth anniversary of JFK's birth, I noted that a nation couldn't fall any further when placing Jack Kennedy in comparison with George W. Bush.
 
I stand corrected.

I can still remember what my Kennedy-Democrat old man was wearing on that unseasonably warm November day in 1963 when he told me, "The president's been shot". I was only three months and six days past my fifth birthday. As young as I was, something as historically profound as that doesn't really fade away very easily, you know? 
 
Whenever the American people are asked in a poll to name the greatest president in history, the answer is always overwhelmingly John F. Kennedy. The fact of the matter is that, although it's not unreasonable to place him in the top ten, he was not the greatest. I just wanted to get that out of the way.
 
It was difficult not experience profound ambivalence yesterday on reflecting on the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth. My emotions ranged between a sweet wistfulness and a blind freakn' rage. To paraphrase the great Mort Sahl, the fact that, in a little over fifty years, we can go from Kennedy to Trump only proves that Darwin was wrong. It also illustrates perfectly how completely dumbed down this country has become with the passage of time. When one views film footage of Kennedy's first European visit as president in 1961 - and compares it with the coverage of the Donald's nine-day-stomp last week - too many uncomfortable questions to list come immediately to mind; the first being: How is this possible? What does Donald Trump's very presence in the international spotlight say about our national character? I know at least a few of the answers to that question, but I'd rather not dwell on them now. Why depress you further?
 
From the New Frontier to Idiot Nation.

This was a man far from perfect. Like other great figures in American history, he was greatly flawed. But the frailties of character that made him all-too-human should not deflect our attention that this was a decent guy who wanted to do good by the country he loved; the country that he almost gave his life for in the Solomon Islands in 1943; the country that he did give his life for in Dallas, Texas in 1963. For a while at least, we were a better people because of Jack Kennedy. I just don't know if we are anymore.

By the way, one of the perks of being Irish Catholic is that we get to refer to President Kennedy as "Jack". NYAH!

I have a number of vinyl records of his speeches. That is one of the few blessings of living in modern times that I never take for granted. If only we could hear Lincoln's voice at Gettysburg. I'll probably curl up in front of the old turntable tonight and give those recordings a spin. It will be impossible not to reflect on all that was. It will be equally impossible to avoid reflecting on all that might have been - but for one demented jackass with a bad attitude and a high-powered rifle.

Was this a great country or what!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

SUGGESTED VIEWING:

Here is a link to view President Kennedy speech at American University on June 10, 1963. It is, I believe, the greatest of his career:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQHkNjXy5OU

As someone once remarked,

"He spoke to us then. He speaks to us still".

AFTERTHOUGHT:

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the LP has been rereleased as a multi-track re-mix. The sound is indescribable. The  1987 CD release sounds like an Edison wax cylinder by comparison. Highly recommended for fans of the Fab Four Action Figures.

17 Comments:

At 2:38 PM, Blogger woodenman1954 said...

To coin a phrase from yesteryear almost all our politicians today are "The Lessor Sort" in every way. By any metric you can think of we are going downhill and where the bottom is, is not known.

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger Majormajor said...

Going down hill starting with LBJ.

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Majormajor said...

"we are going downhill and where the bottom is, is not known"

Here's a clue of where we are going, peaceful, not hated filled liberals leading the way.

http://www.tmz.com/2017/05/30/kathy-griffin-beheads-donald-trump-photo-tyler-shields/



1/ I caption this “there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his…wherever” Also @tylershields great Photog/film maker. pic.twitter.com/eKqr44NOl6

— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017

 
At 8:20 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

JFK has been gone longer than he was alive, yet he still provokes emotional sentiment like no other president before -- or since. He may not have been the "greatest" president, although how can one adequately quantify the metrics required to define greatness in such a role? He definitely was a man for the times, just as FDR was for his, and Lincoln, his.

We live in more turbulent and dangerous times now. Civil and societal unrest is global. Whether Trump is the leader for this hour, for this generation, remains to be seen. If he is, I suspect it will be only as the catalyst for some yet unknown enduring change. Whether that change ultimately brings about conditions that are just and peaceful, and where equality is the order of the day, or the pendulum moves toward total societal and economic breakdown where barbarism, civil war, and potential world war become the new normal, remains to be seen.

One thing's a certainly: Donald Trump sure as hell isn't a Jack Kennedy. For all of Kennedy's faults, they were minuscule compared to that of the man currently occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. JFK was prepared, and capable of, leading a nation to new heights. Donald Trump wouldn't even be worthy of shining Kennedy's shoes.

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Not a peep from the Troll about JFK, just the slur that LBJ ruined everything, probably by promoting medicare and JFK's civil rights agenda. In other words, the "evils" the far Right hates.

So Major thinks Kathy Griffin is "leading the way"? LOL!

And here I thought he was an expert on satire... He totally missed her satirizing Trump's indecent "blood coming out" remark.

Griffin apologized and showed she has the decency that Trump and his cult lack.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger ArchieBunkerNYC said...

"Griffin apologized and showed she has the decency that Trump and his cult lack."

Hey Dave,

Speaking of apologies, did Obama ever apologize about being able to keep your doctor, plan, and save $2500 a year with ObamaCare? You know the PolitiFact 'Lie of the Year' awarded to Obama?

 
At 10:48 PM, Blogger Majormajor said...

How's this Dave, federal taxes have double since JFK was in office and we still have the endless war on poverty that LBJ started.
That satisfy your anal retentive mind set?

BTW, Kennedy wanted to cut taxes, the last Democrat to do so?

What do you know about decency, you have yet to disavow Antifi.

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Arch,

Yes, Obama also showed he has the decency that Trump and his cult lack.

In your tingle over PolitiFact you may have missed what else they said:

"The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology."

As one who never apologizes for anything, you're one to talk, aren't you?


 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Major,
Do I need to educate you again?

Poverty exists because of capitalism’s failure to produce jobs. Cutting taxes for corporations and the rich have not reduced unemployment.

For low information types to ignore: Clinton's Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxpayer_Relief_Act_of_1997

Also to be ignored by low information types would be the tax rates from JFK onward.

Check your US tax rate for 2012—and every year since 1913

https://qz.com/74271/income-tax-rates-since-1913/

I agree. Let’s go back to the tax rates under JFK and LBJ.

Antifi? Is that a new version of Wi-Fi?

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Majormajor said...

"Poverty exists because of capitalism’s failure to produce jobs."

Try educating that to citizens of Venezuela, LOL

"Antifi Is that a new version of Wi-Fi?"
Playing dumb again?

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Mozart1220 said...

Clucky leaves out the part where conservatives work to UNDO everything Liberals gain. Get rid of conservatives and there would BE no poverty.

Clucky would burn your house down and then attack you for being homeless because he gave the Fire department the wrong address.
BTW, Trump once again put America BEHIND in leadership.

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Major,
You brought up "antifi", whatever that may be under far Right propaganda. I've never heard of it.

Why not inform us on what it is, and how terrible it must be, that you want me to "disavow" it? I don't know anyone who has, or should, disavow it. Is it relevant, or just another "New Black Panther" scare?

We have to wait for your definition before we can discuss it. And we all know it's always con-servatives who get to define everything, amirite?

It's good we can agree on restoring the tax rates under JFK and LBJ.

 
At 8:38 PM, Blogger Majormajor said...

Mozart1220

Tell us again how 99% of tax cuts benefit only the rich.

Dave

You've heard of "google"? Use it to look up Antifa or Antifa, then tell us if you disavow them. "antif" was a Mozart type typo. You forgive him, now yliu can forgive me. LOL FDo you disavow them?

I'd love if the JFK tax cuts were put into place...LBJ however taught us first how to fight a war without raising taxes AND institute a costly social program without raising taxes by dipping into SS funds and borrowing money. GUNS and BUTTER..That was LBJ.

America has been trying to return to being great every since LBJ and every step towards that goal has been called racist or not fair by democrats and liberals. Hence our never ending war on poverty. Now paid for by high taxes that only 53% of tax payers have to pay.. Every quarter it seems the IRS collects record levels of revenue, yet the liberals want to raise taxes. It is never enough.

And to clear the air now, when I state taxes, I mean Federal income taxes.

As for cutting military spending that I know you will bring up, sure lets do that right now, right after another Islamic terrorist attack in GB, with liberal courts preventing immigration from countries with high terrorist activity's and liberals breaking laws with their sanctuary cites. Sure, let's just do that...

Sounds like great idea.

 
At 7:45 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Chuck "Majormajor" Morre: "What do you know about decency, you have yet to disavow Antifi."

And in response to Dave Dubya's inquiry requesting what "antifi" is, the following was asked:

Chuck "Majormajor" Morre: "Playing dumb again?"

All I could come up with here is that liberals "play" dumb, but Republicans and conservatives "are" dumb. Was that your point, Chuck?

Okay, I'm going to play my hand on this and see if I'm close. Is "antifi" supposed to be anti-WiFi? If so, I take great offense, Chuck! I like open and widespread WiFi -- and I'm positive Dave Dubya does too! I'm certainly not going to claim I'm responsible for anti-WiFi, like you think I am, but I can say one thing's for certain: Republicans and conservatives, of all stripes, are anti-Net Neutrality.

Chuck, are you against Net Neutrality?


Dave Dubya: "It's good we can agree on restoring the tax rates under JFK and LBJ."

I agree with you and Chuck! Bring back the tax rates under JFK and LBJ! Absolutely!

 
At 10:12 AM, Blogger Majormajor said...

jg,
look up Antifa, then tell us if you disavow them

Do you approve of the actions of liberal Kathy Griffin?

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Major,
If you're not interested in telling us what to disavow, why should anyone disavow it?

Use it to look up Antifa or Antifa, then tell us if you disavow them. "antif" was a Mozart type typo. You forgive him, now yliu can forgive me. LOL FDo you disavow them?

When have you ever looked up anything for me? And after all the facts I've generously provided for your edification, only to be ignored. Sad.

I mean, really.

So "Antifa or Antifa" are a "them". Good. That's some progress. Now why should they be disavowed? Are they violent criminals? Terrorists? You seem to find them indecent, so why not share with us why you disavow them? Are we to understand you are "Profa"?

YOU brought this up, then you insist on service in return.

I wholeheartedly disavow such behavior. It is rude and demanding, like the whiny fat toddler in the White House.

 
At 7:07 PM, Blogger Majormajor said...

Not telling you I'm asking if you do disavow....another example of you putting words into the mouths of others then holding them responsible for what you said.

As far looking things up for you, I stopped doing that when every source I provided you you labeled as racist, fascist or right wing.

Stay stupid and in the dark, based on your posts, it must be where you feel most the comfortable.

 

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