John F. Kennedy (1917 - 63)
November 22, 1963...the day the dream died.
It's been 50 years since that dreadful day in Dallas' Dealey Plaza when President Kennedy was murdered in ambush in what we now know was a carefully crafted coup d'etat.
Most Americans in '63 had lived through World War, economic depression and nervously waited-out a nuclear stand-off less than a year earlier, but this numbing news was different, more sudden, more shocking, more senseless.
Only because of men like Mark Lane, Jack Anderson, Jim Garrison, Woodward & Bernstein and Oliver Stone, did we finally learn who did it, how they did it, why they did it and then how they covered their tracks.
As long as the news flash had superficial plausibility, a suitable fall-guy ("patsy"), a compliant media and a commissioned white-wash of the bloody power-grab, nobody in the general populace would be the wiser nor have inclination to become the wiser. Living has a way of moving forward and the killers knew as much.
The Pacific war hero ("PT 109") would've forgiven us our in-action. Dying in protest for a fallen President or democracy (June 4th) doesn't come easy. Heroes are a special breed: some dive-in head first, others, understandably, test the water and need work up to it.
Just as likely he'd have understood NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle's decision to play a full slate of games that dark Sunday after the leader's death. Contrary to popular belief it was likely less about money than it was in providing a means to cope and normalize.
And if he'd survived, headed-off the treachery of his chieftains and lived a longer life, what might JFK have liked most about today's America?
For starters, its diversity. And what better testament to its advancement than the current family residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? There's much groaning on immigration today but there are no bigger proponents of education & work than America's newest residents.
Ironic that it would be President Lyndon Johnson, Capitol Hill arm-twister extraordinaire, who'd be responsible for getting Civil Rights into law & enforced, and then George Wallace, whose censure of "centralized" power that proved fatal in JFK's case (CIA / CoS) seems now somewhat prophetic, though for the wrong reasons (segregation on States Rights).
John would applaud the progress made in science & technology, starting with the space thing he boosted, then medicine, engineering and the ready access that nearly anyone who wants it can have to gobs of information through internet & gadgets galore.
As for tumultuous merriments, Kennedy clan was known for their touch-football tussles at the compound, though, that might've been more along the lines of Reagan on horse-back or Kerry windsurfing, but they were a competitive bunch and I have to believe Jack would be very pleased with the recent success visited upon New England sporting clubs.
And what wouldn't he like?
1) Leadership Void
It was JFK's leadership that got him killed. But when he was gone, the Constitution, checks & balances, separation of powers, pledges of allegiance, none of it amounted to a hill of beans, not before (Dick & Ike), during (Secret Service) and after the bloody coup (Warren / Time-Life). And has anything changed? In '64 we placated a war-industry (Vietnam) and today consult "monster(s)" of healthcare to fashion policy (Obamacare).
And it was a lack of leadership that allowed kid-think to run Dolphins' indoctrination process into the ditch.
2) Greed Unlimited
Money's always made the world go round but JFK would be amazed. Corps kill US jobs and breed monopoly, regulators are captured by those they're suppose to police and small business bemoan taxes but pass to customers every cost and then leave the kids in charge.
Greed has "trickle(d) down" into every crack in America's foundation. Politicos answer only to greenbacks and with Court's broad read on speech ($), who can blame 'em? We play greedy (PEDs, nature-trail bikers, sticky-gloves & pouty gurus (BB)); we inhabit greedy (warming); drive greedy (speed); we eat (big portions) & drink greedy (big gulps); party greedy (Tea & PC) and can't even do charity w/out turning crass (NFL pink-wear).
That Norman Rockwell illustration on Town Hall democracy? Forget about it. We're no democracy anymore, we're a consumer-ocracy, making statement only with our plastic.
3) Dumbing it Down
No President before or since valued, promoted (Peace Corps), embodied the promise, the hope, the energy of the world's youth than did John F. Kennedy, his Administration and the family that comprised the Camelot White House. But to see what's become of that vision would cut him, brother Bobby and Martin, all to the core.
Youthful talent's always been served in the job market but in the hard-drive to win over the most malleable of consumers, and bury those LP loving oldies, corporate Suits & Skirts have youthenized the marketplace from top to bottom. The result is a dumbing-down that's often gross (AMC "The Walking Dead"), challenges nothing and asks only for one's time & money.
Children weaned on music w/no heart or soul (rap); teens flex to the brutal masquerade that is MMA; a History (channel) that forsakes history for faux-reality, and the nation's top TV show going on 25 years is a simple cartoon ("The Simpsons"). Yippee!
Todd Christensen (1956 - 13)
A key cog in the Raiders' title teams of the 1980s and the proto-typical 'handy' tight-end, Todd died last week in a failed liver transplant procedure in Utah where he'd attended BYU. Mr. Reliable for Silver & Black QB Jim Plunkett, I most remember TC for his insightful and colorful commentary alongside NBC play-by-play voice-great Charlie Jones in the '90s, pre-Fox. There was no better broadcast tandem then, and none now.
Cherry Picks Week 12: Testing Mettle
Carolina Panthers (7-3) @ Miami Dolphins (5-5): 11-24 1:00 EST Fox. MIA wins;
San Diego Chargers (4-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (9-1): 1:00 CBS. Bolts win;
New York Jets (5-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-6): 1:00 CBS. Ravens win;
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) @ Cleveland Browns (4-6): 1:00 CBS. Steelers win;
Indianapolis Colts (7-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (6-4): 4:10 CBS. Cards win.
Dallas Cowboys (5-5) @ New York Giants (4-6): 4:30 Fox. NYG wins;
Denver Broncos (9-1) @ New England Patriots (7-3): 8:35 NBC. Patriots win.
NFL Hunch Line
Photo Credit: President John Kennedy / wc.cca / WHPO / 2-20-61