I have not always been a fan of John F. Kennedy. I was six when he was killed. My only memories of him are when someone came to the classroom and told us that he had been shot and then watching Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on live television. Perhaps that’s why, in the 1970s & ’80s, I read everything I could on his assassination. There wasn’t a theory I wasn’t familiar with. Now, as an adult, I believe that it was Oswald, alone. Why he did it, I’m not sure, but I don’t think it was a conspiracy. However, I do believe it was tragic and like others, I think he was just ‘hitting his stride,’ was maturing, both as a statesman and as a husband. I believe, that had he lived, ours would be a different world today.
Just imagine these things as possibilities, had Kennedy survived that assassination attempt:
- He would have served until 1969
- Lyndon Johnson would have probably never been president
- It’s possible that Richard Nixon would have not been elected in 1968 either, meaning no Watergate scandal (what would the suffix on scandals be if we couldn’t label every scandal and _____gate?)
- And what of Vietnam?
One could go on and on as Jeff Greenfield does in his book If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy.
The modern Democratic party idolizes Kennedy. For that matter the country does too. I’ve become a fan of Kennedy in recent years. I do not believe that Kennedy would recognize the modern Democratic party—He was a hawk when it came to foreign policy; and he lowered taxes to stimulate the economy—it seems to me that Kennedy has more in common with Reagan than Obama.
Kennedy has one more thing in common with Reagan: He inspired people. Reagan is the last president to truly inspire people. (Some would argue Clinton, but keep in mind that he never received a majority of the popular vote.) We need that today. We need a leader who inspires us to be more than we think we can be.