President John F Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963, whilst driving in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas. This tragic incident is well-known and the subject of intense ongoing investigation. What I find interesting is how the true extent of hate-filled, racist and ‘insane’ public opinion in this area has been air-brushed out of the common historical narrative. This seems strange for a country that prides itself on ‘free speech’, and odd that White supremacist opinions be struck from the public record, when such opinions are common-place in the USA. White racism (and the fascism that generates) is just as strong in the US today as it was in 1963. What many do not realise is that President Kennedy was very unpopular throughout the rightwing State of Texas, and that threats against his life were routine.
President Kennedy was portrayed as a ‘liberal’ who sided with African-Americans in the ‘Civil Rights’ debate, and was opposed to ‘White’ racism. He was also perceived as being ‘leftwing’, and too soft upon ‘Communism’ in general, and the Soviet Union in particular. Travelling through Dallas was a gamble for President Kennedy. There was no doubt that he was unpopular with the crowds, but his wife – Jackie – being a Southern women – for some reason retained a certain and wide-spread popularity amongst these people. Indeed, her popularity was evident even on the day of her husband’s murder.
On October 24th, 1963, just under a month before Kennedy’s fateful visit to Texas, Adlai Stevenson – the US ambassador to the United Nations – gave a speech in Dallas celebrating the UN inspired ‘World Peace Day’. Stevenson was jeered and immediately set-upon by a rabid crowd of protestors, with some spitting on him, whilst others pelted him with eggs. At one point police had to intercede to protect Stevenson as he was struck about the head with a billboard. This crowd of people represented a certain type of citizen in the US that view the world through a rightwing, religiously inspired mythology that is ‘fascistic’ in nature, and opposed to all notions of world peace, and any ideas of internationalism. What is strange about this protest is that it is clear that the UN – headquartered as it is in New York – has always been a mouthpiece for US foreign policy. Although the UN refers to itself as ‘independent’, it is obvious that UN policy mirrors US policy. The mind-set of these people in the US is so ignorant that they are willing to attack their own ‘capitalistic’ institutions – accusing those who represent their best interests in the world of being ‘treasonous’ and practising ‘betrayal’. Following this display of blatant rightwingism, President Kennedy was advised to by-pass Texas (even by FDR jr and his wife), but Kennedy was of the opinion that he was everyone’s President and that he had a duty to meet the people there.
These Few Precious Days – The Final Year of Jack and Jackie: By Christopher Anderson, Robson Press, (2013), Pages 287-288