Thursday, April 01, 2010

...guess I'm Reeling In The Years...Stowing away the time...
The rain may never fall 'till after sundown
By Eight the morning fog must disappear
In short, there's simply not a more congenial spot
For happy-ever-aftering
Than here in...Camelot...
While looking thru the books at the local Goodwill Store recently, I came upon a rather big book, the cover of which was titled simply, "The Torch Has Been Passed". It contains a ton of photos and relevant news copy. Published by the Associated Press, it's no 'what happened way back when' kinda book; rather, it sums up those four gloomy days in November 1963 from a "we want you to know what happened a few days ago" standpoint. Within the book are some eyewitness accounts; a 14-year-old boy says one minute the President was smiling and waving; the next, his face lost all expression after being struck in the upper back by the First Shot. A motorcycle policeman riding 6 feet away from the Presidential Limousine, talks about how JFK's head "exploded in blood". And just like that, President John F. Kennedy was gone. Parkland hospital doctors told the Associated Press that had the President lived, he would've been a 'vegetable', and that it was better off that the President die. A gloomy thought, that, but I guess it's true.
The tragedy is not JFK's; it's ours. JFK had already left the scene and zipped up to that Presidential Podium in the sky. Tragedy is for those who have lived through it, not for those who have fallen. Kennedy was almost certainly dead by the time he reached Parkland Hospital, if he managed to live that long. The Associated Press book reflects upon this, saying that "The President probably didn't know what hit him". Indeed, the Zapruder film (which I've played over and over and over on YouTube) shows Kennedy slumping towards his wife after being hit by the first bullet, and as she moves in closer to determine what's going on, BLAM! Another bullet hit Kennedy in the head, ripping his skull apart, missing Jackie by mere inches. And just like that, A Leader Is Gone. And with that, it looks like we've entered the age of the Expendable Leader. Don't like em? Blow 'em away! BLAM! Bobby Kennedy. BLAM! Anwar Sadat. BLAM! Martin Luther King, Jr. BLAM! George Wallace. BLAM! John Lennon. BLAM! Pope John Paul II. I guess George Wallace and The Pope had God on their side, though; they weren't killed outright. Wallace did die from complications of his gun-related paralysis a few years later, and the Mighty Pope's body Just Wore Out. And while Lennon wasn't a politician, he and Yoko were always a rather notorious pairing. Teddy Kennedy didn't need to be gunned down; he threw away any chance he might have for the Presidency that evening in 1969 when he and a companion took that drive to Chappaquiddick. In a way, he kinda assassinated himself.
We're all receding into the past as new generations make their presence known. I keep seeing the image of Leonardo DaCaprio ("Jack") in the Titanic movie, letting go of Rose's hand and slipping, slipping, fading away into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean...and in a way, we're all fading away. Even if they had lived out what constitutes a normal life span, they might have died of natural causes anyway. JFK would be 93 this year. John Lennon would be 70. So they might've passed anyway due to, say, heart attacks/brain aneurysms/assorted infections/or whatever else. I keep thinking the world would be a much different place had President Kennedy been allowed to finish the job he was undertaking. I keep thinking of John Lennon, and what would've he done after December 8th, 1980. More exciting solo music? Or heaven forbid, a Beatles Reunion? We'll never know. And so tragedies make us become wistful; an unfailed promise, a premature ending, what could've been. I've probably wasted valuable time lately, dreaming about what could've been had President Kennedy lived...but still, one can't help but wonder...
Would we have ended up the same way in Vietnam with Kennedy as President? How would our economy have fared? Would President Kennedy win a second term? Perhaps then he could've handed the Presidental baton to Brother Bobby in 1968. Had JFK lived, who knows what he would've done with the rest of his life? He was still very young when he died, after all. Ambassador Kennedy, maybe? Or would he have taken some much-needed time off from the Political Machine he'd been a part of for so long? Sure, it may be foolish to think like that. I also wonder what John Lennon would have done or have become had he lived. I think JFK, and later, brother Bobby, pointed the way towards idealism, and because they were both taken away from us, the Presidency slipped back into the hands of Professional Politicians from the Old School. Sad...
I'll stop now before it becomes painfully obvious that I'm not well-versed as far as Politics goes. What I do know is that once again, after a long, torturious, exhausting time span, we've again got ourselves an Idealistic President. Congress seems to be fighting him all the way, but maybe, he will do a lot of good things.


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