In Memoriam: JFK

“Once upon a time the world was sweeter than we knew. Somehow once upon a time never comes again.”

Monday is the 100th anniversary of the birth of John F. Kennedy. I suppose we should do as Christians do — celebrate the birth on its anniversary, mourn the death when its date comes around, but I cannot separate them.

I remember all too well having a President who embodied grace, intelligence, learning, excellence and humor; whose every utterance, from formal speeches to casual asides, reminded me that I was a citizen of a remarkable country, summoned in me a swelling pride in its principles and achievements, while at the same time calling me to strive to make it better.

If you did not live through that time, or if you do not agree with some policies or beliefs he espoused (as I did not, at the time) you will find it easy to dismiss my pain as the edited dreams of an old man remembering a Golden Age that never was. You would be wrong. My memories are verifiable.

I make no claim that it was an easy age. The arms race, the Cold War, the failed invasion of Cuba followed by the terrifying Cuban Missile Crisis, the first mutterings of the storm that would break in Vietnam, the crisis in civil rights in America, all these were part of an age that was far from tranquil. But we were led by a man who held before us constantly a vision of a country that stood for things — important things such as honor, compassion, human rights, freedom. And we stood for those things, as he once said of the race to the moon, not because they were easy, but because they were hard. And that is why that difficult age was, at the same time, golden.

Until that awful afternoon and endless night in November of 1963. It was then, for me, that the music died. And it seems to me now, although it’s probably just coincidence, that it was on that very day that America began its long, inexorable slide into the status of a Third-World banana republic — a slide that, for 99% of our people, has yet to slow down. We never saw his like again.

So I wish your spirit Happy Birthday, Mr. President. I hope you will forgive me if I am not able to celebrate.

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9 Responses to In Memoriam: JFK

  1. JungleJim says:

    “although it’s probably just coincidence”-you just made your entire presence suspect.

  2. JungleJim says:

    As I look at my comment from the previous night I find way to cryptic. With all the conspiracy theories swirling around JFK’s untimely end I don’t know what to think. At any rate, I do enjoy your thought provoking essays and would edit the above if that option was available.

  3. Russ Day says:

    Tom – you’re absolutely right. We were re-watching The Graduate” the other night and the songs by Simon and Garfunkle brought back all those memories of the 60’s and 70’s. The People’s March, the anti-war movement and the Supreme Court decisions that brought us a measure of true equality. From that high point of at least some truth in politics and concern for the 99% we’vc slid into this morass of deception and empire building, etc. Appreciate your blog. Russ

  4. Tom says:

    Even back then, the Deep State in its use of the CIA, exercised an unthinkable act of treason (in assassinating him) and buried it for forty years behind lies and deception. [Then his brother and Martin died too (all CIA sanctioned).]

    I was in science class in 9th grade and KNEW that the world had changed for the worse.

    Thanks for the sober reminder, Mr. Lewis. It still hurts.

  5. Chris says:

    Hi Tom,

    I’m an Aussie and can’t comment upon your domestic politics, but like you I can respect a man of vision, honour, and compassion. Where are their like to be found today?



    • David Veale says:

      Seems to me that they’re being stomped out by the corporations that own the media and government (as with the DNC and Sanders). We’ve created a corporate Frankenstein that cannot be easily stopped!

  6. Call me an insensitive jerk, but here was just another politician that lied. His lies were wonderful and pretty, just like his face, but he was still a member of the elite that played the game of control like all the rest. His actions spoke far louder than his pretty words. I suppose if you loved the idea of JFK, you were also wild about FDR, another banker meat puppet. I think we speak too highly of the dead, be it grandma or JFK.

  7. Tom says:

    You might be right James, but the powers that be got away with both murder and treason.

    Paul Craig Roberts – “Kennedy assassinated by a conspiracy between the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secret Service”

    [it’s been all down-hill ever since]

  8. SomeoneInAsia says:

    I would have thought Jimmy Carter was a good president, too. He foresaw the dangers of fossil fuel depletion and tried to warn everyone. He also denounced the trend of consumerism.

    I guess we all have fond dreams and visions about our home country or mother culture which all turn sour as we are confronted by the brute facts. When I was young, ‘China’ used to mean great art, culture, history, literature, philosophy and poetry; sages and scholars who spread the light of learning and virtue; and a wondrous land of craggy mountains shrouded in mist. But today, when I see or hear the name ‘China’, what do I think of? I think of shoddily manufactured goods; rabid nationalists; extreme pollution; a lack of freedom, independent thought and human decency; and above all else a shitty government that couldn’t care less about anything else besides keeping its bloody ass securely placed on the seat of power.