Monday, October 22, 2018

JFK's assassination.

As we approach the fifty-fifth anniversary of the evil assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we witness even more information coming about that deals with his life plus legacy. For decades, JFK has been a very popular human being. He never lived beyond 50 years old, but his life existed with leadership, monumental events, and historical changes. He lived during the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and World War II. His family loved him and expressed solidarity with him. His wife, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, propelled fashion and other aspects of culture in the White House including abroad. His brother, Robert Francis Kennedy, was his close ally and he was the Attorney General of America. Now, we witness a greater appreciation of his courage and his enthusiasm to advance idealism in the midst of a changing world. As the 35th President, he set out a course to promote the arts, commerce, space exploration, civil rights, and economic development in a myriad of speeches and policies. John Fitzgerald Kennedy also wanted environmental protection as Nature must be honored with continuous cultivation. Today, as we approach 2020, we are further inspired to intrepidly execute compassion, to believe in tolerance, and to accept the great responsibility to believe in human justice for all. That means that tax cuts for the super wealthy is not representative of democratic principles. Income inequality and stagnant wages are not right politics. Investment, progressive taxation, and civil liberties must be advanced in order of America and the world to reach into higher heights of fairness and equality. This time is the fall of 2018, and we will always believe in the awe-inspiring principal of social justice.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was born in wealth and privilege. His Kennedy family was very wealthy. His father was the businessman Joseph Kennedy, and his mother was Rose Fitzgerald. As a child and into his adolescence plus adulthood, John F. Kennedy experienced many health illnesses and diseases. During his youth, he traveled into many schools. JFK suffered taunts for being Irish, and kids challenged him in fights. Later, he enrolled in Harvard College. One of his famous pieces of literature was a book entitled, “Why England Slept.” The book criticized appeasement which was done by some British leaders. Appeasement contributed to the rise of World War II. Joseph Kennedy supported Neville Chamberlain’s actions in the run-up to World War II. It is no secret that Joseph Kennedy made anti-Semitic remarks. During World War II, the Navy enlisted John F. Kennedy. He saved lives after the Japanese destroyer Amagiri rammed his PT 109 boat. He was praised and joined the House of Representatives. He visited Vietnam early in his career and criticized colonialism in his famous November 14, 1951 speech. John F. Kennedy came into the Senate and released his Profiles in Courage book in 1956. That book documented the courage of eight senators throughout American history. It sold 2 million copies during that time. He ran for President in 1960 and won after a hard campaign. He defeated Richard Nixon, praised the separation of church and state, and outlined his New Frontier vision for America. His 1961 inaugural address was one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century.

In that speech, it was a combination of anti-Communist rhetoric and a call for public service in idealistic terms by him saying, “...ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” JFK had strengths and weakness. He was strong to resist the military generals who wanted an invasion of Cuba. Some accused him of not being more overt in fighting for civil rights legislation early in his Presidency out of political reasons (since Congress had tons of pro-segregationist politicians). John F. Kennedy believed in nuisance and wanted to have access to many perspectives as possible before making a final political decision. The irony with JFK was that he had a more contentious relationship with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at the beginning of his Presidency, and then later, their relationship improved (with the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, talks about d├ętente, the creation of a nuclear hotline, and other policies that resisted war with the Soviets). Also, others pushed President John F. Kennedy on many issues. Dr. King, SNCC, and other civil rights leaders had many meetings with the Kennedy administration so that administration would promote real civil rights legislation in Congress. He had fears about the March on Washington and then supported it. So, John F. Kennedy was not a perfect man, but he was a man who changed to be more progressive and open-minded by the end of his term. John F. Kennedy was a very intellectual, intelligent man. He would outline views with eloquence, examples, and other forms of inspiration. He passed away in a cruel, evil murder. We are indeed motivated to carry forward the vision of egalitarianism and justice.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a liberal. He said so himself in a speech. Many conservatives promote the lie that John F. Kennedy was a conservative. That isn’t the case at all. John F. Kennedy gave a speech to accept the New York Liberal Party Nomination in 1960. He said the following words, “…If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal", then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal.” Kennedy called his domestic program the "New Frontier". It ambitiously promised federal funding for education, medical care for the elderly, economic aid to rural regions, and government intervention to halt the recession. He also promised an end to racial discrimination, although his agenda, which included the endorsement of the Voter Education Project (VEP) in 1962, produced little progress in areas such as Mississippi where the "VEP concluded that discrimination was so entrenched.” JFK supported affirmative action policies, promoted labor rights, believed in civil rights, advanced environmental protections, and believed in the investment of the arts. During the 1960 campaign, Kennedy proposed an overhaul of American immigration and naturalization laws to ban discrimination based on national origin. He saw this proposal as an extension of his planned civil rights agenda as president. These reforms later became law through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which dramatically shifted the source of immigration from Northern and Western European countries towards immigration from Latin America and Asia. The policy change also shifted the emphasis in the selection of immigrants in favor of family reunification. The late president's brother, Senator Edward Kennedy helped steer the legislation through the Senate. Many conservatives lie and say that since JFK wanted tax cuts passed, then he was a conservative.

The truth is that the top marginal tax rate was at 91 percent which was created to pay for World War II. JFK acknowledged this and wanted it to go down. So, he wanted to lower the top rate to 65 percent, and that rate would go down to 70 percent under the Revenue Act of 1964. The current top income tax rate was 39.6 percent, which was more than 50 points lower than Kennedy’s time. Also, JFK lived during a time of less income inequality than today. Back then, the richest 1 percent of households had less than 10 percent of the income share in 1962. Now, the 1 percent owns much more than 10 percent of the income and the super wealthy today pay less in taxes. Some rich folks pay no income taxes today. John F. Kennedy was a Keynesian, not a supply-side tax cutter. Kennedy believed that budget deficits can have a stimulative effect which is anathema to neoliberal views. JFK wanted tax cuts to stimulate demands and grow the economy from the bottom up. John F. Kennedy believed in both tax cuts and spending increases to stimulate the economy. He wanted to do tax cuts first and then increased spending later.  "First we'll have your tax cut," he told chief economic adviser Walter Heller, 11 days before his assassination, "then we'll have my expenditures program." One of the greatest pieces of evidence that John F. Kennedy wasn’t a conservative was how he gave a speech at Madison Square Garden promoting universal health care for the elderly (which would be Medicare). That was in May 20, 1962 and conservatives back then, including Ronald Reagan, opposed him. The conservatives slandered JFK as promoting socialism or communism by JFK saying that the elderly deserve government health care. In that speech, he said the following words, “…And then I read that this bill will sap the individual self-reliance of Americans. I can't imagine anything worse, or anything better, to sap someone's self-reliance, than to be sick, alone, broke--or to have saved for a lifetime and put it out in a week, two weeks, a month, two months…” John F. Kennedy supported Social Security which is a government program. Therefore, John Fitzgerald Kennedy supported Social Security, health care insurance for the elderly, civil rights, environmental protections, labor rights, investments in welfare, educational development, ending the tax loopholes for oil companies, and a higher minimum wage. Therefore, he wasn’t a conservative. By his own words, President John F. Kennedy was a liberal.

By Timothy