It has been 53 years since that sunny day in Dallas when an assassin’s bullet brought Camelot to an end, and John F. Kennedy became part of history.
Now, more than a half-century later, with a new Gallup poll showing a majority of Americans believing the nation is divided on most important values, and split almost down the middle on whether President-elect Donald Trump will do more to divide than unite the country, it might be appropriate to ask a question. Make that several questions.
Could JFK be elected president today? Could he even win the nomination of his own party today?
What would JFK think of the nation today, with the attacks on police, with a national debt figure that is impossible for average Americans to fathom, with what many see as a racial divide far greater than anything that television viewers watched unfold in Selma or Birmingham? Would JFK be a Life Member of the National Rifle Association, as he was at the time of his death, and would his own party demonize him for it?
There’s an interesting thread on Facebook that might be worth a glance. People on both sides of the political spectrum are weighing in.
How many self-styled “progressives” would warm up to Kennedy’s challenge to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country?”
So much has changed in 53 years. Would Kennedy be able to grasp it all? Would he have a Facebook page or a Twitter account? How would he react to Vladimir Putin or the ISIS terrorist army?
Would he have his own private server? Would he have sent the Marines to Benghazi?
Remember, this was the guy who skippered PT 109. This is the president who threw a blockade around Cuba, made Nikita Khrushchev back down, and he didn’t fly around the globe bowing to anybody. By today’s standards, he might even be a moderate to conservative Republican.
In the years since his death in Dallas, JFK has become as much a myth as he was a man. Many if not most of the people marching in the streets today weren’t even born when Kennedy served (a deliberately chosen word) in the White House.
The end came too soon for JFK, and perhaps for the country.
Were he to return, would he recognize the United States? Would the United States recognize him?