JFK: THE MARTYR’S MANDATE
I never thought I would find myself so caught up into the Kennedy assassination anniversary, but I can rationalize that it comes with the territory when you are defined as a conspiracy analyst. It is unfortunate that there will be people that will make rash judgments about that moniker. I was already hearing comments on other talk shows about my shows during the anniversary, many of them saying that they just can’t believe anything.
The craziest thing about the Kennedy conspiracy is not that I am asking anyone to believe me, but to consider the facts that point to the fact that the most beloved President in our history was considered the most dangerous by his enemies and this was enough motive to seal his fate.
But what if they failed in their attempt to wipe him out and change the direction of this nation? The Kennedy assassination was so shocking, so traumatizing, that many people imagine a better world resulting from his survival and they hope that a rethinking of that moment in Dallas would paint an even better, or much improved America.
That is a fantasy—and while it is fun to imagine a world where Kennedy succeeds and we live happily ever after, Washington D.C. – like Hollywood – is an illusion. Dreams of a trouble-free America, based on the abilities and policies of one man, is unreasonable.
Alternative views on history and the conjuring of major “what if’s” that we can speculate about are often steeped in radical idealism of what could have gone better – rather than the sad reality.
George Orwell once said, “At any given moment, there is a sort of all-prevailing orthodoxy, a general tacit agreement not to discuss some large and uncomfortable fact.”
The Kennedy assassination has always been that Jonbar Hinge, or change-point, where things could have swung either way and, unfortunately, history would swing towards the tragedy. The tragedy that we now think about on this 50th anniversary of his tragic death in Dallas, Texas.
However, there are a lot of writers and historians that have speculated on what would have happened if Kennedy survived the bullets that were fired on him in Dealey Plaza.
Many have been written books that are idealistic, time travel rescue missions where John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert save the day, making policies that improve civil rights and mandates that keep us out of Vietnam.
The hypothetical scenario of a surviving Kennedy would have to include the fact that he was a very sick man; he lived with painful Addison’s disease and hypothyroidism. Kennedy’s family and advisers were able to keep his medical history virtually secret.
Kennedy was the youngest president ever elected and was portrayed as healthy and full of vitality. In reality, he suffered various problems controlled by a daily cocktail of steroids and other drugs.
Dealing with that on a daily basis – and also having to deal with a failed invasion of Cuba, the Berlin wall, and a standoff with the Russians during the Missile crisis – it would be probable that a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ would have developed against him no matter what. His Republican detractors would have exposed him as possibly consorting with the Communists and his popularity numbers would have suffered under all of these allegations.
No one would have asked for these horrible conditions while being the Commander In Chief.
We have to understand that, in the “what if” world, if one conspiracy failed to kill Kennedy – there would be plenty of other ways to destroy his presidency. Many of the same tactics we have seen being used against other contemporary Presidents would have probably been worse on Kennedy.
The people would have seen him as a survivor while his very real enemies would have seen him as an incurable, political cancer and would try and remove him with several other methods.
As Robert A. Nowotny writes, “President Kennedy had enemies, powerful enemies within the Secret Service, the FBI, the Pentagon, the Mob, the Federal Reserve, as well as Pro and Anti-Castro Factions, even the Vice President himself, Lyndon Baines Johnson.”
Many alternative history writers agree that if Kennedy survived, the gunshots in Dallas it would have hardened his resolve and would have had a powerful psychological effect on him and his family. He would have resolved to be a president of peace and request a less war-like foreign policy. This would most certainly enrage the war hawks as Kennedy ignores Vietnam as a matter of policy. This would, once again, establish a fortified hatred of Kennedy by the military industrial complex.
Every conspiracy theory has the same foundation for its existence and that is: There are many people that all had motive, means and opportunity to remove JFK from office. History tells us that a lone gunman eliminated Kennedy, but the majority of people rejected the idea based on the enemies Kennedy had created for himself.
Call it a mandate by a messiah or martyr, but the latter day prince of Camelot would push for disarmament of the United States and the Soviet Union which would send a signal that Kennedy’s assassination attempt has made him soft and sympathetic towards Communism.
It would also trigger commentators to analyze if Kennedy is psychologically fit for his presidency. After all, the feeling of the public is that the Soviet Union is the enemy and at anytime would love to vaporize the United States in a nuclear conflagration.
Psychologists could speculate that the president is mentally ill and is on some spiritual crusade to save the world, which could be seen as a threat to the security and safety of the American people.
A key player in these accusations would be J. Edgar Hoover who becomes alarmed at the public’s religious-like worship of Kennedy, his push for civil rights and his Soviet-friendly stance as a threat to the republic.
Hoover orders the FBI to disrupt the civil rights movement which triggers riots and a brewing war in the Homeland. Hoover exposes Dr. Martin Luther King as an enemy of the state after extensive wiretapping of his hotel room.
King doesn’t escape an assassination which triggers more civil upheaval. The Republican right grows tired of Kennedy and his idealistic crusades that have left the country fearful of not being safe in their own neighborhoods. The country is on the precipice of the overturning of Posse Comitatus, however Kennedy resists and many police agencies are actually equipped with military ordinance to combat the civil unrest.
J. Edgar Hoover then plants some of the darker secrets of President Kennedy in the media. Now, a media that was in love with the man, has no choice but to expose him. It is at this time we can wonder if Kennedy wishes that the bullets would have killed him in Dallas.
In the realm of “what if’s,” we really don’t need ‘lone gunmen’ bullets to take down Kennedy, all we need is a few investigative reporters, wiretapping and whistleblowers to expose the scandalous, dark secrets of the Kennedy administration to a naive nation that surrendered to the folly of apotheosis.
With a cynical and skeptical media, something that does not exist today, Kennedy would have survived only to be harangued by the media about his drug use, his extra-marital affairs and his morality. The attitude would go from Camelot to chaos as the conspiracy against his presidency would uncover all sorts of malfeasance with the administration.
We all can say the country loved Kennedy in 1963, but would they have been so enamored with him in 1968?
In my opinion, it’s highly doubtful.
We could speculate that, had Kennedy survived, he would have been reelected in 1964, but probably would have seen impeachment by 1966.
The sins of the man would have caught up with him in the political slaughterhouse and soon, hearings similar to Watergate would be convened and the country would have to hear all of the dirt on the President: his drug use and his possible link to the murder of actress Marilyn Monroe.
The accusations of cover up and scandal would leave Americans confused and betrayed.
It all ends with his removal from office, an emotional farewell speech, a triumphant wave and an uncertain future handed over to Lyndon Johnson, who remarkably remained as his Vice President after all of the accusations that he was in on the conspiracy to kill Kennedy in the first place.
Ironic? Not really, just business as usual in Washington D.C.
No one likes unhappy endings; Kennedy survives a bullet only to be nailed to a cross like all messiahs. However, like F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.”
Kennedy would have been the first American presidential tragedy if he had survived and would have probably been more notorious than Nixon if the court of public opinion were to be exposed to his darker side.
A firestorm of scrutiny would have been too much for the nation and for Kennedy’s administration after the close call in Dallas and there would have been more civil strife, riots and even a Constitutional crisis.
The polarization of the parties would have been apparent much sooner and the debate would be not what the president has done to deescalate the cold war or Vietnam, but how his moral turpitude is a threat to the national security of the United States.
JFK is an enduring superhero even in death, but every hero – even if he survives certain death in an alternative timeline – finds his kryptonite soon enough. And while it sounds cynical that Kennedy was destined to die, it may be equally rational to say that, had he survived, he would have suffered an assassination of a political kind.