Fifty years after JFK’s inaugural: left-on-left violence, ideological pornography.
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In the election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln said the question was whether this Nation could exist half slave or half free.
In the election of 1960, and with the world around us, the question is whether the world will exist half slave or half free, whether it will move in the direction of freedom, in the direction of the road that we are taking, or whether it will move in the direction of slavery.
Twenty years before Ronald Reagan would succeed him, it was Kennedy the liberal Democrat who threw down the gauntlet, saying in crystal clear language that he viewed the Soviets as a slave state, Communism as the modern, operational philosophy of slavery. For good measure he had brought the name of Lincoln — the Republican president who ended slavery in America — into the debate. As president, when challenged by the famous British leftist Lord Bertrand Russell over his tough response to the secret placement of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, JFK rebuked him with a tart telegram
I think your attention might well be directed to the burglars rather than to those who caught the burglars.
The fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy’s inaugural this week was already certain to draw considerable attention. But the tragedy of the shootings in Tucson has brought the nation up short with a vivid reminder of just how far from JFK the American Left has traveled since that January day of 1961.
PERHAPS TWO OF THE MORE vivid pieces of this ideological pornography written in the last few days was the “Climate of Hate” column by the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, in which Krugman blamed everyone from Sarah Palin to Fox News stars for the Arizona shooting done by a clearly mentally ill shooter. And the attempt by Kennedy nephew Robert Kennedy, Jr. to do the same added Sean Hannity as a “hate merchant.”
Meanwhile, unnoticed, the son of Bobby Jr.’s brother ex-Congressman Joseph Kennedy II — that would be 30-year old Joseph Kennedy III — gave a speech to the Massachusetts legislature celebrating JFK’s “City on a Hill” speech delivered days before he left for his swearing-in as president. Mr. Kennedy, a prosecutor on Cape Cod and viewed by some as the next Kennedy in politics, had the courage to take on the American left for its rhetoric while predictably doing the same with the American right. But sadly, like his uncle RFK, Jr., he repeated something that is a flat-out untruth: that John F. Kennedy was killed because, as the Boston Globe pretended, “of President Kennedy’s opposition to racial discrimination and violence.” To say that JFK was killed “for what he represented” is to gloss over a very hard fact.
John F. Kennedy was murdered. By a Marxist. A leftist. Someone who so admired both the Communist Soviet Union and Communist Cuba — the nations JFK was calling slave states and had threatened with nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis — that he tried to defect to both. Failing, he murdered John F. Kennedy. After almost killing the right-wing retired General Edwin Walker with a just-missed shot through Walker’s Dallas living room window.
Looking back decades later it is no small point that the unraveling of the modern American Left can be traced to the day JFK’s left-wing killer was let off the hook by the aborning liberal media of the day — which tried instantly to put the blame on the American and Dallas right. Anywhere but where it squarely belonged — at the feet of a determined Marxist who in fact was acting in the violent traditions of his decidedly leftist political faith.
John F. Kennedy’s murder, the third time a president of the United States had been shot to death by a leftist — and not counting the two leftist attempts to kill FDR and Truman — was an eye-opening example in the day and right now of what can only be called left-on-left violence. The seating of Democrats and Republicans together at the next State of the Union Address will not — cannot — cure this.
In fact, JFK’s assassination turned out to be the curtain raiser on a cascade of left-on-left violence through the 1960’s and beyond. The once seemingly stable Big Government American left represented by JFK and before him FDR and Harry Truman slid into a cesspool of violence and violent rhetoric typified today by the Matthews remarks on Rush Limbaugh or the Robert Kennedy Jr. smear of Sean Hannity , Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Fox News. And of course, Matthews again, attempting to link Mark Levin to the Tucson violence. A bizarre, scurrilous slur which has drawn a $100,000 challenge from Levin to Matthews to prove it in court.
Several years after JFK’s murder, with the country in the grip of leftist race riots in leftist-run cities and leftist violence on leftist-run college campuses, a presidential commission on “Campus Unrest” tried its best to understand what was going on with all this murderously violent left-wing rioting, shying from the obvious fact that leftists were rioting against leftists.
The other day, perhaps attempting to recover from a reprimand of sorts from President Obama for his “Climate of Hate” column that picked up where the liberal media of 1963 began, columnist Krugman tried to explain.
But the truth is that we are a deeply divided nation and are likely to remain one for a long time. By all means, let’s listen to each other more carefully; but what we’ll discover, I fear, is how far apart we are. For the great divide in our politics isn’t really about pragmatic issues, about which policies work best; it’s about differences in those very moral imaginations Mr. Obama urges us to expand, about divergent beliefs over what constitutes justice.
What constitutes justice, alas, for the American Left is repeatedly passing extensive entitlement programs or materializing them by executive fiat or a ruling from an unelected judge. All done, but of course, in the name of some imagined virtue. No one is allowed to disagree or protest without being suitably — preferably publicly — shamed for a lack of conscience that indicates they oppose what Krugman or some other liberal defines as “justice.” Which means in turn that as the entitlement inevitably keeps growing endlessly, it becomes politically impossible to deal with the inevitable constituency created by the entitlement. Example? In 1956, Congress passed an amendment to Social Security on disability insurance. Estimated cost by 1980? $860 million. Actual cost the year Ronald Reagan was elected? More than $15 billion a year.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online