Politics of our Time – 1960-1963
I can’t remember where I put my glasses sometimes. And at times I can’t remember where I put the roll of toilet paper after cleaning up my elderly dogs mess. But, it seems that I can always remember where I was or what I was doing when I heard bad news on the radio or T.V.
Between 1960 and 1963 I was very young. Kennedy was our President and the country was divided in one of the closest elections of all time. Nixon lost and his loyal supporters pledged an allegiance to stand against the Moderate Catholic. Democrats were dancing in the streets and Republicans were wringing their hands together to fight his policies every step of the way.
The South, as you may recall or read, was a hotbed of civil rights.
The Vietnam War was escalating and Kennedy pledged our loyalty and sent advisories but insisted it was up to the South Vietnamese to win or lose the war.
Cuba was the biggest issue and one the world watched with bated breath. From the Bay of Pigs to the Missile Crises it was all caught on the young national television networks.
Like I said, I was young. I was two years old when Kennedy was elected and five when he was shot. I remember that day like it was yesterday though.
The sun was bright and the air cool. As normal I was out in the yard playing, Jump the Tree, a game involving pine sapling. The idea was to jump over the tree every day and even when it was large I would be able to somehow leap over it like Superman. Yeah, I was naïve…but I was only five. My sister opened the front door of the house and yelled out for me to come inside, because something bad had happened.
I ran across the rock drive and up the steep front steps and into the living room where the family had gathered around our black and white television. Walter Cronkite had just told the world Kennedy was dead.
For the next several weeks, we as a family, sat glued to the television watching the events of history unfold before us.
The capture and the investigation of Oswald.
Oswald’s murder by Jack Ruby.
The pageantry of the rider less horse and young Kennedy saluting his Father’s casket as the horse drawn carriage ambled in front of him.
The world was one. There wasn’t anything else anyone was interested in watching or doing.
In the years that followed I became more and more interested in politics. Not that I was interested in becoming a politician, but maybe a reporter or journalist. I read and poked and prodded through local library archives and read everything I could on conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assignation. As I grew, so did the Vietnam War, Johnsons ego, and civil rights unrest. The 60’s were filled with much controversy and much of it had to do with the News Media not just reporting the news, but also opinionating what we saw.
The sad part is many believed whatever they were told.
They took what the media told them for gospel truth.
And the beat goes on…even to today.
Over the next few weeks I will explore my remembrances of that time and what I recall of that era. After all I grew up in the sixties. By my twelfth birthday in 1970, my future wife was a junior in high school and I was popping my first zits.