Nearly half a century has passed since the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Perhaps, the greatest story never told. The details of that day in Dealey Plaza are tucked away in official records, sealed until such a time that every person involved will have passed on. So much for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”
JFK’s death, while a tragedy in and of itself, has triggered a chain reaction that as a people, we will never recover from. We the people, have not trusted the government ever since.
I say that as a spectator, as I was thrust upon this sunlit marble some six years after the fact. But, I don’t see another event occurring on American soil prior to this that was so polarizing in an “Us vs. Them” sort of way. There was the Civil War, but that was more “Us vs. The Other Us,” this was different. This event gave rise to unreal levels of suspicion. Suspicion so strong that we doubted our leaders…that we chose! Suspicion so strong that has us doubting the very thing we hold dearest…the truth.
Doubt has created cottage industries. Don’t believe me? Moon landings staged in a Texas Air Force Base, top secret alien runways in the New Mexico desert, Bigfoot… there are countless conspiracy theories generated by this inherent doubt and lack of trust. Take 9/11…as a nation we got punched in the gut, and then had lingering doubts as to who really did it, and why. Why is it that when someone famous dies, we fail to believe it? We’ve got Elvis, Hitler, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison working in the sporting goods department of Wal-Mart.
Doubt as a form of entertainment. We’ve skewed perception so badly that we now, as a people, are force-fed “Reality TV”, a concept so unbelievably wrought with doubt and deception. Often a show is based on the premise of someone doubting, or causing doubt, lying, cheating, or stealing to move on to the next round, Bill. All the while wired for sound, in perfect lighting, and caught on super-deluxe hi-def equipment, with the right amount of “life-like” drama, prodded-on by directors and producers. Barely “TV,” and certainly not “Reality.” The good news is that the “reality TV stars” will be back next week to dance with the retired relief pitcher. Where the fuck is the Brady Bunch when we need ‘em? At least we knew up-front they were putting us on. And, Mike Brady always made sure we knew the truth before the end credits.
Doubt has created health issues…anxiety, gastritis, addiction… Doubt has made us cynical as fuck. Ever try to give something away? I’m always met with “What’s the catch?” or “I’m not interested.” It’s because we simply doubt the sincerity of the giver or their motives. Just as you can’t un-ring a bell, we’ll never be able to trust the government, and we’ll never really be able to embrace the truth, without giving pause for…what if…
I’ve researched quite a bit of the JFK story…as a work of fiction, it’s got it all… murder, sex, power, intrigue, and at it’s core, conspiracy. There are way too many theories on the subject to number, but suffice to say, a tangled web indeed. Some theories even contend that the government seeded some bizarre theories to throw us off the scent. But I know the truth…Bigfoot did it, in a UFO, with Colonel Mustard and a lead pipe.
The saddest thing about the JFK assassination is lost among the scattered shards of truth and deceit. A young man lost his life, a young woman lost her husband, and a young family lost “Dad.” Perhaps I’m hyper-sensitive to that because being a father and a husband is all I really have, and all I really wanted out of life. But that idea is perhaps the most disturbing out of all of it.
I used to watch the Oliver Stone film JFK quite a bit, admittedly swept into the double-crossed details of regicide that would give Bill Shakespeare a boner. I also watched a ton of those documentaries about the 'dissection of a crime', applying science to the shooting, where they buy Oswald’s Mannlicher Carcano rifle on Ebay and shoot fruit from a crane while timing it against standard Marine training. Then I thought, hmmmm...would JFK watch a show about my death? Granted, I’m not very presidential and don’t have any high schools named after me. But, I’m sure he was as important to his wife and son as I am to mine.
How about the assassination of John Lennon? I was watching a show about his last days, and the narrator discussed his relationship with his son, Sean, and his re-invigorated role as a Dad. The details carry on through his last day; signing autographs for fans that he never dreamed would end his life, going about his business, recording, etc. My son recognizes John Lennon, and the rest of the Beatles for that matter, and he always says, “Daddy, he was shot on his way home to see his son!” My view is forever altered on the details of that day.
I guess what I’m getting at is… We’ve created a mess for ourselves, we’ve let outside sources create a lapse in confidence in us as a country, and in us as individuals. We can’t go on together with Suspicious Minds (thanks Mr. The King!). We’ve excelled at turning our shortcomings and our misfortunes into entertainment; we’ve turned entertainers into heroes, and heroes into fundraisers. Truth, Justice, and the American Way…man, Superman’s gonna be pissed when he sees what we’ve done with it.