It has become such a cliche to talk about where you were when you heard about Kennedy’s assassination. But, we do each have that moment imprinted in our minds. This week has really brought it back to so many as the 50th anniversary of that event has been commemorated.
I really tried not to engage too much with it all. But, listening to Tom Brokaw yesterday talk about what he had experienced was unnerving. He related (and I don’t recall all the details of it) that he was a young reporter in Omaha at the time. He talked about encountering a man who said to him, good, it’s about time someone killed him.
It was interesting to see the shock that the Cycle’s four hosts at that moment. They could not believe that something like that could be expressed. I was reminded that I grew up in a place, Odessa, TX, where I can say that was not an uncommon feeling, although not spoken so bluntly. It was a feeling that was held by many, many people in west Texas.
For me Odessa was an ugly place to live. It had an ugly consciousness and a mean spiritedness about it. It was like living in a community of Archie Bunkers, but even of even lower consciousness. Kennedy was hated in Odessa. I recall going to church (Southern Baptist) one Sunday before the presidential election and finding printed flyers in the pews warning about Kennedy being a catholic and controlled by the Pope. People really believe that garbage. Including my own family.
If you were not white, protestant and English speaking, you were dirt.
So, nearly 35 years after leaving the west Texas area and finding George Bush the embodiment of that west Texas consciousness elected (selected) president was utterly appalling and disgusting. There was nothing I could imagine worse than to have that kind of thinking and those beliefs institutionalized at the highest levels of government. And believe me they were, regardless of the attempts to cover it up.
Should we wonder in any way why, the Republican party has become the party of such hatred and mean spiritedness. That was the roots of the current base of the party comes from — John Birchers, WASPS, Klan members and sympathizers, militia consciousness, government haters, religious fanatics and selfish, abusing, greedy individuals. Like it or not, that is the base and the roots of the base of todays Republican party. If you are not WHITE, PROTESTANT AND RICH you are dirt. PERIOD.
Are these the people we want running our government? Not me. Not me for sure.