An Essay on Two Roads, JFK and LBJ

Two Roads

This is a photo unlike any other photo. Unlike in the fact that you can literally feel what is going on in the scene. Obviously I see honor, pain, heartbreak, confusion and wonder, but I also see two roads that, if only for a fading sparkle of time, are meeting and unseen by those on the sideline, fusing one into the other changing from what was the original creation.

One road is innocent, while the other road is paved with scars, unhealed wounds from doing something to save many, that those who could, wouldn’t: Salvage an old stand-by: Honor of God and country. And honor of self. I see the trickle of blood that is silently oozing down the road worn-down by life, while on the road laid with purity, I see hidden tears of pain that not even the wisest of men will ever see.

There is also a pure gesture of humble respect given-freely to the probing eyes of the younger, the wondering soul who even at this virgin age, asks “why?” and never hears an answer. Can you, for just a moment, see the finished-product called a man? I can’t. I see a man covering his natural fears of the obvious fragile thread of life that is shredding before him, while the stumbling young man has just found a few steps of faith.

You or I do not see the traces of any smiles. That’s because a smile is not appropriate when the pain of growth is being observed. Hardly any words, I can assume, were spoken by these two people on two separate roads. Words are sometimes a distraction from the real meaning of the moment. And “that” moment is slowly fading as it is recreating itself for only a minute or two.

JFK and LBJ

I have viewed this photograph over a hundred times in my lifetime and the only realistic, honest feeling summed-up in a word is “hate.” Pure hatred. I know the sermons, scriptures, and road signs telling us why hatred is similar to cancer as it slowly poisons the life and heart of the person feeling it.

Still, I hate. After all of my praying, seeking, wondering why I feel hate when I should feel a nice, cushy better-sounding word that those around my life would approve of.

I was never a Lyndon Johnson fan. I never bought a ticket to ride his “Bandwagon of Illusion.” Although I do give him credit for mastering the art of the spin and retelling a harsh truth of something hidden that we all seen with angry eyes: A multi-headed monster with no heart or eyes that took almost a million young lives from us without shedding one tear. No, LBJ, didn’t start the Vietnam War. Neither did his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, whom I did like and respect. Dwight D. Eisenhower is seldom brought-up at liquor parties in liberals and for the record, conservatives’ neat and cushy homes, for he was instrumental in sending U.S. Army “advisors,” to teach the South Vietnamese how to hold a gun and to learn the difference in life and death. Yeah, that was a slick, masterful political move.

But do not misunderstand. I am not a draft-dodger of old who fled in layers of darkness into the cerebial areas of Canada, temporarily changed my name to “Flynn,” and worked in a tuna canning factory until Vietnam was only said in passing terms. But then again, I am American enough to research and dig for the illusive truth that LBJ helped to fuel with his “New sheriff in town” image. Yeah, a real man has inherited the job of President of the United States.

I am sure that Johnson had his good points. And I take the responsibility for not looking for them, but I resent how easily he and Lady Bird (what a name for a woman) assumed control while visibly-sweeping Jacqueline, the blood-covered widow of JFK silently out of the back door of the White House.

LBJ just might have been a saint in disguise. See how easily I told that lie? How easily I painted an easy-to-believe realism? That was just how LBJ and his buddies that he didn’t trust, ran the country, not into the ground, but onto a living level we could all live with.

I still hate the fact that JFK had to die to give way to base time continuum, if there is such a thing. And I still hate the fact that there are a handful of ancient people living somewhere in a scary obscurity who really knows how the assassination of JFK really went down.

I really do not hate Lee Harvey Oswald that much. I might be the only American of record to actually buy the fact that some really powerful men used this “puppet” of egotistics to accomplish their agenda. And we all know what that was: Greenbacks. I simply cannot help feeling sorry for puppets who have no judgment, common sense or life.

I really do hate those monsters, (I didn’t say mobsters), who took from me a good guy and a trusted guy in the White House: John F. Kennedy.

You are free now to walk the aisle and disagree to a gluttonous level.

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Comments 10 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

I can feel the emotion in your words Kenneth. I was very young at the time of JFK's death and his succession by LBJ, so I was shielded from the impact it all had on you. I do know that JFK was probably the most popular president ever but that he did have powerful enemies. From what I have read Lee Harvey Oswald was just a pawn in a much bigger game. Thank you for sharing this, and letting us see your serious side. We all have certain things that we feel so strongly about that we just have to share our angst. Well done. Voted up, all but funny and beautiful.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Jodah, my good friend,

Thank you so much . . .for your honest and warm comments. I mean for people to see that I do have a serious tone or two.

These have to be two of the top peeves I have.

Thanks again.


lions44 profile image

lions44 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

This was a very powerful article.

I have come to reassess LBJ and have begun to have more respect for the guy (I was not born until '68, so I probably don't have the depth of feeling that boomers do). Much of his Presidency was a failure with Medicare one of the few accomplishments. But Vietnam was not his failure and he did get the Civil Rights Act passed, probably one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history.

My father, a WWII vet, hated the man. Nothing good to say about him. My parents never stopped bringing up that photo every time Johnson was mentioned. They always said "How could they do that to her?" I thought of them as soon as I saw the picture again.

My dad swore he wouldn't be surprised if LBJ had something to do with JFK's death. I disagree. Oswald acted alone in my opinion. Either way, this article needs to be voted up and shared. Keep up the good work.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

I read an article recently that Caroline Kennedy made a deal with a TV station to release tapes where Jaqueline suspects LBJ killed Kennedy. She did it because she didn't want the movie starring Katie Holmes to be shown. It would be interesting to see both the tapes and the movie. I personally don't know about LBJ very much but I liked Kennedy.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

grand old lady (who is NOT old)

Thank you kindly for your comment. I appreciate your candor on this sensitive topic. Personally, Katie Holmes is not a Jackie O. And to me, if Jackie Kennedy suspected LBJ, she has to know what we do not know. She can't be doing this for the money, for her last husband left her so much money she will never have to work.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

lions44,

Seemingly, a "thank you," from me is not enough for such an in-depth comment filled with such raw truths and realisms. I happened to know from a great article I found on the internet that the Civil Rights Act that LBJ got passed, he actually bullied the congress and senate to get it passed or else. He feared Dr. King and his influence over the economics of America and the black consumers and yes, the voters.

He was not a saint as some let on. But neither was JFK. I do know that what I liked about JFK was his backbone in not backing down from jerks who wanted to intimidate us. e.g. Cuban Missile Crisis.

Yes, I think that Castro got in bed with the mob and handled the assassination together. Poor Oswald. If he only had lived and for some reason, lived until a plea bargain was given him, his books he could have written would have made him a wealthy man.

Jack Ruby knew more than he let on also.

But I could talk all night on this subject. I do need some sleep.

Thanks again for the comment and visit me again.


vkwok profile image

vkwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

This is just amazing, Kenneth.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, vkwok,

You are way too kind to me. God bless you and thank you for the nice words that cheer me up and keep me going to write more hubs for the entertainment and joy of my cherished-followers.

Happy Labor Day.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Kenneth, this really hits home for me, and I can read the emotion in you words. Let go of the hate, please, those you hate will never feel it/know it and it will only make you bitter.

"Still, I hate. After all of my praying, seeking, wondering why I feel hate when I should feel a nice, cushy better-sounding word that those around my life would approve of." I was saddened that JFK was taken from us before his work was accompolished, but I do not hate. Hate would eat me up inside.

Although I love reading this.

Voted up UABI and shared.

Blessings

Shyron


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Shyron,

I sincerely appreciate YOU for the humble comments. I really do. Your comments have hit home with me. They are so warm and kind. Thank you. I shall work at NOT hating. I give you my word. And when I do that, you can rest assured that I will work at NOT letting this hate eat me up.

I am moved too, at you feeling my emotions.

Not all are able to do that.

So besides the gift of writing, you might also have the gift of discernment of the spirits. That is what I feel by reading your lovely comment.

Come back anytime and talk to me about anything.

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