1963 - JFK Assassination Home
My first awareness of politics was as a 9 yr old and the Ike vs Stephenson election in 1952. I was confused because I was too young to make any sense of the arguments made by opposing sides. I went to my dad and asked him who he was going to vote for. He told me it was very important that Eisenhower win. I stayed up late into the night listening to the radio the night of the election pulling for Ike and was very happy when he won.
By the 1960 election I was a junior in High School and was conflicted because my mom had raised us boys as Catholics and mom was for Kennedy and dad was for Nixon. Most of my classmates had been swayed by JFKs charm and good looks, but I noticed most of the smarter students that I knew were Nixon supporters. Nevertheless I too was swayed by JFK and became an ardent supporter.
I graduated from Pekin Community High School as a proud Pekin Chink (a nickname changed to Dragons in 83) in 62 and began my college career in the fall of 62 at the U. of Illinois. My admiration for JFK had only grown stronger since the election although my religious faith was succumbing to the doubts implanted by higher education. I still was charmed by his charm and sense of humor and positive press coverage. I also liked his apparent beliefs in breaking from some of the previous generation's warlike tendencies.
The day of his assassination (Nov 22) I was sitting with my roommate Bruce and another friend in my room getting ready to go to 1:00 pm classes when another dorm mate stuck his head in the door and said “THE PRESIDENT'S BEEN SHOT”. Of course we were in disbelief, but then we heard it on the radio.
By then it was time to go to class so we proceeded to walk from our dorm to our classes. When I got to my calculus class I entered and most of the students were aware of the shooting but when the teacher walked in he just went to the blackboard and starting writing on it. After a minute or so someone finally asked him if he had heard about the shooting. He didn't know. He immediately dismissed the class and I went to the student union to see what was going on. There was a large TV room there but it was packed so I just stood at the door craning my neck so I could see the TV. It was then that Walter Cronkite announced that the President was dead.
As soon as I heard that I left and started walking down the hallway toward the student quadrangle at the back of the building. As I was walking and trying to absorb what I had just heard I saw this girl walking toward the TV room in a real hurry who obviously was not aware that the President was dead. As she got closer to me I said “HE'S DEAD!” She stopped and looked at me in disbelief and said “WHAT?.” I repeated “HE'S DEAD!”. Her look of disbelief turned to shock and she just slumped against the wall and started crying.
I had never felt so low in my life. I was almost crying now myself just from feeling her pain. I stood there and watched her cry and wondered what I could do to help her. I thought of saying “I'm Sorry” but what did I have to be sorry about. I didn't shoot him. Should I be sorry for telling her? No - somebody had to do it. I decided that there was nothing I could say now that would be appropriate so I just wandered away and left her there.
I walked around campus for hours before I could bring myself to go back to the dorm. When I got there my dorm room was empty and I just laid down on my bed and had a good cry.
That night after dinner we went to the dorm cafeteria for coffee and the place was packed but it was very quiet. The jukebox had been unplugged out of respect for the assassinated President. We found a table and sat down. Not long after that a black couple got up and plugged in the jukebox and played a song and began dancing. Everyone stopped talking and watched in disbelief. I could understand a KKK member doing that, but a black couple? Over the years as I've thought about it I can only assume they were just totally ignorant of politics or black radicals ahead of their time.
I didn't know it at the time but the assassination would have a major impact on my life. I distrusted the official explanation from the beginning. I would spend years of my life trying to find out who killed JFK. It would breed in me such disrespect for authority that it would cause me to make several bad decisions later in my life.
However by the time I was sure who had done it I was no longer a young, altruistic, trusting of big government liberal. I had become a give me the government the size it was under Jefferson libertarian. After watching a rebroadcast of the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debates in the 80s I realized that had I been able to vote in 1960 knowing what I knew now I would have had to vote for Nixon instead of Kennedy. Kennedy's constant repeating of “We Can Do More” had become especially irritating to me. We have done more. We went to the moon and did the “other things” that have turned the republic into a corrupt, immoral, bankrupt fascist empire run by money junkies and corporate special interests.
I realized that my political beliefs had changed to the point where they were now more in alignment with the forces that had killed Kennedy. I tried to rationalize justifying the assassins actions based on the theory that when democracies get out of hand maybe it's all right for the military to assassinate an elected leader to get the country back on the right path, but I just couldn't justify the resort to violence to overthrow an elected leader - not to mention the hundreds of deaths necessary in the cover up operation. Besides the motives of the assassins were not for any overriding concern for the welfare of the country. They all had their own special (being a student of Ayn Rand I refuse to use the word selfish in a negative manner) interests that they were protecting. Which is fine – that is how a Republic is supposed to work. It was only the means that I couldn't reconcile.
Israel wanted a nuclear weapon which JFK was trying to prevent them from getting
Meyer Lansky (a strong supporter of Israel), Sam Giancana, Carlos Marcellos, and the mob wanted their Cuban properties back and felt they had been double-crossed by JFK when he allowed his Attorney General brother Bobby to go after them.
The anti-Castro Cubans wanted to get back in power in Cuba and were pissed at JFK for not providing air cover for the “Bay of Pigs” invasion.
Alan Dulles had been fired at the CIA and James Jesus Angleton (a strong supporter of Israel) was worried about JFK making good on his threat to abolish the CIA.
The military intelligence agencies were concerned about JFK getting too chummy with Kruschev and the Soviet Union and getting us out of Vietnam.
H.L. Hunt and the Texas oil industry was about to lose a lot of money if JFK got the oil depletion allowance repealed.
Howard Hughes was hoping to provide helicopters for the Vietnam war and stood to lose a lot of money if JFK got out of there and he was a big supporter of Nixon.
Bell Helicopter was providing helicopters for the war.
Pepsi Cola wanted their Cuban plants back.
The Federal Reserve System was feeling insecure with JKF's mumblings about doing away with it.
Even if the motives of the assassins had been to ensure a constitutional government one can now see that the resort to violence did not achieve that end. In the year 2009 our Constitution has become a joke as far as limiting the power of the Federal government. The Feds are now taking over our economy turning us farther into a fascist state with more government control of the economy than Hitler's Germany. The lesson to be learned is that one can not achieve a noble end with a corrupt means.
How many lies and cover ups have been perpetrated on the American people since the assassination? What about RFK and M.L. King Jr? How many innocent people were murdered in an attempt to cover up and when are the perpetrators of those crimes going to be held to account.
And can we please once and for all stop the trashing of the idea that two people might actually enter into a conspiracy to achieve a political end? Otherwise can someone please come forward to explain why after thousands of years of political conspiracies to murder leaders of countries why all of the sudden in the US in the 19th and 20th centuries human nature has changed so much that the idea of a conspiracy to unseat a political leader is to be ridiculed?
When are the perpetrators going to be held to account? When are those who actively participated in the cover up going to be held to account? James Jesus Angleton, LBJ,Gerald Ford, Earl Warren, Alan Dulles, J. Edgar Hoover and the national news media. How can a man like Arlen Spector still be taken seriously today after defending the single bullet theory all his life?
How about a monument on the mall with the names of all the innocent people who were murdered by those attempting to cover up the assassination?
At least let's declare amnesty just so we can know the truth and the American people can realize just how dangerous it is to trust their government. All the conspirators have to do to receive amnesty is to admit they made a mistake by resorting to violence. That should bring everyone alive out except the former and present politicians and Gordon Liddy. I don't think I've ever heard him admit he ever made a mistake except when he offered to commit suicide after the bungled Watergate assignment.