Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bad Days in American History: November 22, 1963

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas.

I'm not including this in the bad days series because of the death itself. Sure, its bad when the president gets killed. But I'm not convinced that the assassination of Kennedy was that outstandingly worse than, say, Garfield's killing. It certainly doesn't compare to Lincoln, at least in my point of view. I know the baby boomers would disagree, but then, isn't everything about their own perceptions? Kennedy is a vastly overrated president. Had he lived, he probably would have signed the civil rights legislation Johnson did, though it's unknown whether he would have pressed for it like his successor. His glamorous image disguises the great mediocrity of his policy.

The reason I discuss this is because it is the prime event in the history of one of the most annoying things about this nation--conspiracy theories. From antimasonry to Populism to Roswell to 9/11, Pearl Harbor, and even John Wilkes Booth, Americans love to think there's a vast shadowy conspiracy looking to take down our nation. I can't think of a single time when this sort of thought has led to anything positive. It's particularly embarrassing when famous people on the left engage in this. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is a prime example of this. While a movie on this topic was worthy, there's enough real things to expose to the public than think about potential conspiracies which probably don't exist.

Frankly, I don't care why JFK was killed in 1963. Oswald was unhinged and was almost certainly working alone. Theoretically, I might be interested in why Jack Ruby killed Oswald, but to begin exploring this is to expose myself to insanity. In any case, I doubt the mob, LBJ, Castro, Hoover, the CIA, or anyone else had anything to do with it.