11/09/10 - posted by jb
Thanks for noticing and starting this tread, Frank. Around that time, my concern with politics was more for Junior High elections than Washington; however, it was hard not to catch all the fall-out from my parents and other adults around me who all had seemingly strong views about this election. Given I grew up as a house Democrat, it was easy to recall my dad supporting Kennedy as a good Irishman. My mom, always in-the-know about those she didn't, had suspicions about his lotharian antics and thought he needed to keep his pants zippered if he was to run our country. My Uncle Tom gave him triple kudos for being Irish, Catholic and serving in the Navy, while my Uncle Les claimed he was a gangster. Still, I can't recall anyone in my immediate family who supported or voted for Nixon. And let's face it...his face on TV put him in cement shoes then Sam Giancana dropped him in Lake Michigan where he resurfaced in 8 years, covered in slime and seemingly no worse for wear from oxygen deprivation and only water to drink. His presidency would be vindicated years later for opening relations with China. But I digress...

What I recall most was my campaign button for Kennedy that had a 3-D effect due to a thinly-grooved plastic overlay that I wore with pride and wonder. This was kid "hi-tech" in 1960 and so vividly spoke for the promise that JFK provided at a most-pivotal time in our history: Nixon might have won if he had a technologically-advanced safety razor.

And when Kennedy was finally sworn in, we bid goodbye to clothes lines and tail fins forever. I find it ironic that one of the emblematic items of his tenure, a rocking chair, heralded the last we would see of lazy Summers rocking on the porch with the radio playing and the aroma of fresh apple pie coming from the oven. We no longer needed a 1959 Cadillac...Kennedy jettisoned us to the New Frontier then burned the map back, with the thrust of a Saturn rocket that ran rings around the Soviets. We would never go home again: To this day, we remain in orbit, circling around a past we can only view at high speed moving forward, for lack of a better direction.

I often wonder what if he had not been gunned down in Dallas. Perhaps to get our country to wonder was his greatest legacy.

Still with high hopes,
jb
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