Friday, November 22, 2013

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

Half a century since the Kennedy assassination. Alas, more than half the people in America still think there was some conspiracy.  For this I mostly blame Jack Ruby, who prevented a trial where the public could have heard the whole case against Oswald.  But that's the way it goes.  To this day people still bring up the bad evidence suggesting a second shooter, apparently not aware how easily it's refuted.

But lately I've seen something new.  Not about a conspiracy so much as a mood.  That Dallas was a "city of hate." As if that has anything to do with the shooting of a president.

For instance, we get this in Slate (and elsewhere): a letter from a Nelle M. Doyle to Press Secretary Pierre Salinger warning JFK away from Dallas.  She writes about the "hoodlum mob" in Dallas, and ends her letter thus:

The people are crazy, or crazed, and I am sure that we must realize that their actions in the future are unpredictable.

Rebecca Onion (though maybe this should be in The Onion) in Slate runs with it.

As Steven L. Davis and Bill Minutaglio, authors of a book on Dallas politics in 1963write, Dallas was a hotbed of right-wing activism in the early 1960s. The city had strong historical ties to the KKK; in the 1920s, Dallas had the highest per-capita rateof KKK membership in the country. In the 50s and 60s, resistance to school integration and civil rights catalyzed rightist sentiment in the city.
Dallas was also home to Edwin A. Walker, a one-time general in the Army whose involvement with the ideology of the anti-communist John Birch Society and vocal opposition to Kennedy intensified after his discharge. Reverend W.A. Criswell, pastor of the powerful Dallas First Baptist Church, campaigned against Kennedy on the basis of his Catholicism during the 1960 election. And the Dallas Morning News, the largest newspaper in the state, was consistently conservative in its editorial coverage, attacking the NAACP, running editorials by prominent red-hunters, and commemorating the Confederacy in the name of “states’ rights.”
What does "right-wing activism" have to do with it?  Kennedy was killed by one nut--a communist nut at that.
In fact, I have to wonder if Onion is messing with us.  She brings up Edwin Walker.  She  must know that earlier in 1963 Oswald attempted to assassinate Walker for his anti-Communist beliefs.
Or is Onion, like so many others, of the mindset that hatred is some physical thing that descended on Dallas that day and killed the President?  And people keep making this mistake  Whenever someone is shot or attacked, certain pundits quickly check (or sometimes just assume) the person who did was affected by the wrong politics and go on to condemn those politics.  (And then they find out that person had beliefs closer to their own and say it's unfair to judge a crazy person by his politics.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty obvious that the city of hate is D.C., isn't it? Hard to find a clearer case of projection than the Left, and this JFK stuff is a neat example.

Of course it's an interesting question, does hate have venue? Perhaps it's located at 30 Rock and its peers. (All together now, my lefty friends, turn the mouth foam on and tell me how Fox News doesn't do journalism . . .)

3:09 AM, November 22, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope the center of hate is located wherever Anon #1 is posting from

5:34 AM, November 22, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did Ms. Onion get wrong? Was Dallas mischaracterized? It was a hotbed of nutcases with politics at the center of it.

6:36 AM, November 22, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is even if it was a hotbed of nutcases with politics at the center of it, this had nothing to do with the JFK assassination, and yet Onion (and others, including the New York Time and Washington Post) are, in fact, trying to frame this hatred (and a city) for the killing of the President, when it was a man who could have done it anywhere shooting on behalf of leftist ideas.

6:47 AM, November 22, 2013  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I've just heard this too. One of NPR's 25 Kennedy stories this morning talked about how Dallas has been the "City of Hate" sinvce 1963, but how it's not true anymore, now that Obama carried the city (though of course not the State) in the last election.

I was almost 1 year old when Kennedy was shot. My parents took a picture holding me up in front of the TV carrying the news coverage (so I guess I "remember" where I was on that fateful day). But in 50 years, I had not heard Dallas referred to as the "City of Hate." I guess I didn't go to the right parties.

8:50 AM, November 22, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, that's hysterical, did they really broadcast that? I *love* NPR.

12:26 PM, November 22, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, Kennedy, being a Democrat, took Texas--though not Dallas, so I guess it was a city of hate until redeemed by Obama.

1:05 PM, November 22, 2013  

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