The Death of a President: Fifty-One Years After the Communist Assassination of John F. Kennedy
Reprinted from 2013.
The Death of a President: November 22, 1963, a Date Which Shall Live in Infamy
On This Day, 50 Years Ago, President John F. Kennedy was Assassinated by a Communist Traitor, Not by a "Right-Wing" Cabal
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
January 20th, 1961
Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom - symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning - signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. 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 has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge - and more.
To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do - for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom - and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required - not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge - to convert our good words into good deeds - in a new alliance for progress - to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.
To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support - to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective - to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak - and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.
Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.
We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course - both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.
So let us begin anew - remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belabouring those problems which divide us.
Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms - and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.
Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.
Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah - to "undo the heavy burdens -. and to let the oppressed go free."
And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavour, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
Now the trumpet summons us again - not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are - but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation" - a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shank from this responsibility - I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
A first lady with beauty, style, and grace of which pretenders can only enviously dream
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The Death of a President
By Nicholas Stix
(Reprint, partly from 2009, the rest from 2006.)
In Dallas 47 years ago today, Communist and dishonorably discharged ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated 46-year-old President John F. Kennedy, shooting him from a window in the Texas School Book Depository building, as the President's motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, b. May 29, 1917, d. November 22, 1963.
Commemorative Essay from 2006
Forty-three years ago yesterday, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States of America, was felled in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald, a communist, dishonorably discharged, ex-marine. For most of my life, November 22 was commemorated as one of the darkest days in American history. In recent years, such commemoration seems to have been fading.
President Kennedy was riding that day in a motorcade with his wife, Jackie, Texas Gov. John Connally and the latter's wife, Idanell (1919-2006), and Texan Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Kennedy had come to Texas to shore up a rift among Texas Democrats.
As soon as she saw her husband had been hit with gunfire, Mrs. Kennedy showed herself willing to sacrifice her own life, to save her husband's. She threw herself across her husband, to shield his body from further gunfire with her own, as if she were a secret service agent, rather than America's First Lady. Alas, it was too late.
Gov. Connally also was wounded, and his wife, Idanell Brill "Nellie" Connally (1919-2006), helped save his life by "pull[ing] the Governor onto her lap, and the resulting posture helped close his front chest wound (which was causing air to be sucked directly into his chest around his collapsed right lung)."
Later that day, aboard Air Force One, Vice President Johnson was sworn in as America's 36th President.
On April 11, Oswald had attempted to assassinate rightwing Army Gen. Edwin Walker; one hour after assassinating the President, he murdered Dallas Patrolman J.W. Tippit, before being arrested in a Dallas movie theater. Two days later, Oswald was himself murdered by Jack Ruby, as lawmen sought to transfer Oswald from police headquarters to the Dallas City Jail.
Jack Kennedy has become, like his ersthwile fling, Marilyn Monroe, a Rohrschach Test, onto which people (particularly leftists) project their preoccupations. Thus do conspiracy obsessives project the notion that the President's assassination had issued out of a conspiracy so immense, including at least two assassins, with the identity of the specific participants – the Cosa Nostra, the CIA, Fidel Castro – depending on the imaginings of the obsessive in question.
Likewise has Kennedy's presidency been fetishized by leftwing obsessives and family retainers, who have turned him into a socialist demigod, who supported massive economic redistribution and radical "civil rights."
The best way of summing up the real JFK versus the fantasy version propagated by the Left and Kennedy courtiers since his death, is by comparison and contrast to President Richard M. Nixon, Kennedy's opponent in the 1960 election.
Kennedy has been portrayed as a leftwing saint and Renaissance man, who gave us or supported (or would have, had he lived) the War on Poverty, civil rights for blacks, and utopia. Nixon, by contrast, was a rightwing Mephistopheles ("Tricky Dick"), and a crude, racist, fascist warmonger.
Politically, Kennedy and Nixon actually had much in common. Both were unapologetic anti-communists in matters domestic and foreign. Nixon successfully prosecuted for perjury the traitor and Soviet spy, Alger Hiss (which inspired the Left to work tirelessly thereafter for Nixon's destruction), while Kennedy ("Ich bin ein Berliner.") was an unequivocal supporter of West Berlin against Soviet imperialism, and risked nuclear war, when he faced down the Soviets during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. (Due to the statute of limitations, Nixon could not prosecute Hiss for treason or espionage.) On the negative side of the ledger, Kennedy betrayed the Cuban insurgents who carried out the Bay of Pigs invasion, by withholding promised air support, thus turning the invasion into a fiasco.
Domestically, at least in fiscal matters, Kennedy was considerably to the right of Nixon. Early in Kennedy's administration, he signed off on what was then the biggest tax cut ever, and which set the economy on fire. In light of Kennedy's fiscal conservatism and belief in self-reliance ("Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"), it is highly unlikely that he would have signed off on a program for massive government welfare programs. The War on Poverty was the idea of Lyndon Johnson, who exploited the nation's mourning for JFK to ram his programs through Congress.
By contrast, Nixon introduced price and wage controls, a move that was far to the left economically of the Democratic Party, even after Kennedy. And it was Nixon, the hated "racist," not Kennedy or even Johnson, who institutionalized affirmative action. Note that over 30 percent of blacks voted for Nixon for president, over three times as high a proportion than ever would vote for George W. Bush for president.
For over thirty years, leftist Democrats have sought to tar and feather Nixon as a "racist" for his "Southern Strategy" of appealing to Southern whites with promises of "law and order." The presuppositions of the leftist critics are: 1. If one is not a leftist, one may not campaign for the votes of groups that may potentially vote for one, but rather must hopelessly chase after the votes of people who will never vote for him, thereby guaranteeing his defeat; and 2. Because the explosion in crime was primarily the fault of blacks, no politician may ever campaign on behalf of "law and order" (in other words, see #1).
Since leftists have long controlled the media and academia, no successful counter-movement has ever been waged against the Democrat Northern Strategy that continues to this day inflaming and relying on racist blacks for their votes and their violence.
If anything, Nixon was a stronger supporter of "civil rights" than Kennedy. When Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested during the 1960 presidential campaign, Nixon wanted to call King's parents in support, but let his advisers talk him out of it. Conversely, Kennedy let his adviser, future senator Harris Wofford, talk him into calling "Daddy" King, which resulted in Kennedy winning the black vote.
In August 1963, the Poor People's March, in which Martin Luther King Jr. would give his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, was almost shut down by the Kennedy Administration without King even getting to speak.
The march had been organized by A. Philip Randolph, the legendary socialist founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the nation's first successful black labor union. Randolph was planning on giving a radical leftwing speech written by Stanley Levison, a communist advisor to both Randolph and King, but as historian David Garrow tells in his biography, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the President's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, acting in his brother's name, threatened literally to pull the plug on the demonstration, were Randolph to deliver the planned speech. Randolph relented, and gave a considerably toned-down speech.
There is no record, to my knowledge, of Nixon ever censoring a political speech, much less one by a civil rights leader.
As for Southeast Asia, Kennedy got us involved in the War in Vietnam; Nixon got us out.
Kennedy repeatedly jeopardized national security, both as a naval intelligence officer during World War II, and while President, due to his obsessive womanizing. By contrast, even Nixon's sworn enemies have failed to find any evidence of his cheating on his beloved wife, Pat.
And as for the two men's intellectual status, Nixon was clearly superior. The notion that Kennedy was an intellectual the planned product of a PR campaign engineered and financed by the future president's father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.. The elder Kennedy got his son's undistinguished, pro-appeasement (echoing the elder Kennedy, who was a Nazi sympathizer) Harvard senior thesis, Why England Slept, published as a book, after having it rewritten by erstwhile family retainer, New York Times columnist Arthur Krock (whom JFK would later stab in the back, using future Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee as his tool of choice); later, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, was ghostwritten for JFK by another family retainer, Theodore Sorensen, in order to give the young senator the "gravitas" necessary for a run at the White House. Working on behalf of JFK and Joe Kennedy, Arthur Krock campaigned relentlessly on behalf of the fraudulent work, and succeeded in gaining it the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for biography, yet another fraudulent Pulitzer that has never been rescinded.
Nixon, on the other hand, really did write a series of important books on politics. But although Nixon was a true Renaissance man, he was a Republican, and so while the Kennedy hagiography of the press, Hollywood, and academia would slavishly promote the myth of Kennedy as Renaissance man, in the same parties' corresponding demonography of Nixon, the last thing they were going to do was to give Nixon due credit for his very real intellectual accomplishments.
So, where does that leave us? Must we choose between the fictional but pervasive image of JFK as Renaissance man, socialist, and compassionate civil rights supporter, or Garry Wills' revised version, in which Kennedy appears as a ruthless, pathologically lying sociopath?
If we jettison our illusions about the political leaders we support being compassionate, kindly, fatherly (or insert your romanticized cliché of choice) types, and admit that the ruthless, pathologically lying sociopath has been a frequent Oval Office type, that still does not free us from the obligation of weighing the virtues of this sociopath against that one.
While it is ludicrous to speak of a man who inhabited the office for only two years and ten months as a "great president," John F. Kennedy had his moments. He gave us a tax cut of historic dimensions, stood up to the Soviets, founded the Peace Corps, and started the race to the moon that culminated in 1969, with Neil Armstrong's world historical walk.
Posthumous vindication for his boldest vision: July 20, 1969