An Essay on Two Roads, JFK and LBJ
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.