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View Diary: PBS, JFK, and why I'm a Dem (84 comments)

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  •  One huge problem with that essay (6+ / 0-)

    The FIRST people who mythologized, analyzed, mourned, researched, pointed out the flaws in the Warren Commission Report, and so on, were NOT baby boomers.  They were too young.  It was the World War II generation, of whom Kennedy was the shining example, who did all this.

    And they're still doing it as much if not more so than they did before:  Vincent Bugliosi, who wrote what is probably the definitive account of the assassination from a non-conspiracy POV, was born in 1934.  So was Robert Dallek, whom the author of this article mentions as part of the mythologizing.  Robert Caro, whose magisterial histories of LBJ's presidency of necessity touch on the Kennedy assassination, was born in 1935.

    The same goes for some of the chief conspiracy theorists:  Mae Brussell, whose work on the Warren Commission Report may have started the whole nonsense about the grassy knoll and the second gunman in the first place, was born in 1922.  Jim Garrison, who prosecuted Clay Shaw, was also born in the early 1920's.  Oliver Stone may be a boomer, but he drew heavily on these two figures, so blaming the mythologizing of the assassination on him is very short-sighted.

    I don't deny that the Kennedy assassination had a huge impact on the baby boomers.  Of course it did, just as the bombing of Pearl Harbor had had a huge impact twenty years earlier.  But dumping responsibility for the way that Americans see the assassination and its aftermath on the boomers is simply not accurate.  It's the Greatest Generation we should look to for Camelot in the first place, and for the way that we view its end.

    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

    by Ellid on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:32:01 AM PST

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    •  Agree, the author is young (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, Ellid

      Younger generations have never understood the impact of JFK's assassination on our generation.  As parents, Boomers have done a pretty good job of sheltering our kids as much as possible while trying to give them a better world.

      If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

      by Betty Pinson on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:50:16 AM PST

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    •  We were children and teens but yes it was our (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, northerntier

      parents generation who were adults , who were those who voted for Kennedy and LBJ, who were most immediately affected by his death and those events in the 60s.

      So maybe all of we boomers feel it  impacted us because were were kids when it happened.  Boomers could be considered at that time to be in K-12 ( I was still in elementary school and I am almost 60) ..and there are those who are boomers who were in high school at the time..  

      But you are right, my parents were born in the early 1930s and their peers. Those who volunteered for and were Kennedy voters and supporters..the young adults of that time..our parents for the most part were born in the 20s and 30s

      Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at http://keystoneliberalsforum.aimoo.com/

      by wishingwell on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:58:01 AM PST

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      •  We had to deal with it as helpless bystanders (6+ / 0-)

        without the same level of maturity and experience our parents had.  They were frightening times if you were a kid. I had just turned 9, my dad had died unexpectedly 3 weeks before at age 34.  Not fun.

        If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:17:44 AM PST

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        •  This is key, I think. (5+ / 0-)

          Our immaturity and the inability to place the horror into any kind of adult context.  I was 10.  My parents wept all weekend.  We sat as a family and watched  an entire weekend of black and white television coverage.  To this day, I can instantly recall the drum cadence.  I learned the word "catafalque."  I found out what a "riderless horse" is, and what the metaphor means.  I watched Ruby murder a man on live television.  I watched two other children hold onto their mother's hands and watch as their father was mourned and buried.  This experience is pretty much universal for the people I know, and was fodder for many dorm conversations when I went to college later.  I don't think there's any way the moment can be psychologically overstated for people who were children when this happened.

          I liked Kennedy because he was a Democrat (my family was VERY Democratic) and because he had a nice smile and because he said things in press conferences that made people laugh.   When I was older, I learned what we had lost when he died.  It still breaks my heart to think of it, and I do, every November 22nd.

          "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers

          by Kentucky DeanDemocrat on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 01:00:04 PM PST

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      •  10th grade geometry when JFK was killed. (0+ / 0-)

        In the DC suburbs. That day, no one knew if it was a coup. No one knew if the bombs would start falling.

        Much less news available than on 9-11 so much more speculation and fear.

      •  11/22/63 was the beginning of the '60s for me (0+ / 0-)

        I was 17, a Boomer, and a freshman at UC Berkeley on that awful day. I walked out of a physiology class, joined a hushed group around a little transistor radio in the hallway, and learned that my world had been blown apart by an assassin in Dallas, Texas.

        Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 400ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

        by Zinman on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:10:57 PM PST

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    •  I experienced it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northerntier, RFK Lives

      at 14 as a grief more wrenching than any in my life, ever. I lost my father seven years later; I've lost many loved ones since then, and anguished at the assassinations a few years later. But I've never felt anything like the desolation I felt that weekend and the weeks that followed. The world turned black for me.

      This resonates with me:

      The sense that emerges is that many boomers found themselves in the curious position of being young enough to both experience it and not experience it _ for it to be both a real event and something dreamlike, a fable that they saw through the eyes of parents, teachers, television before they were able to process it. The processing came later, as they grew.
      I don't see this as dumping responsibility on the baby boomers for how Americans see the assassination and its aftermath.
      •  I keyed in on other parts of the essay (0+ / 0-)

        Agreed that it was wrenching, and traumatic, but ignoring the part of Kennedy's peers in the man's myth shouldn't be done.  The whole country was damaged.

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 03:14:23 AM PST

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