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The JFK Assassination: In Context

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   5 comments, In Series: Democracy in America
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JFK limousine.
JFK limousine.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News)
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Fifty-seven years ago on the morning of November 22nd, 1963, this photo indicated the mood of America. It wasn't that everything was perfect, but we did have a system that still functioned, and most people believed they had a voice and that the government cared about its citizens.

What we did not know was that there was another "game afoot", as Sherlock Holmes might put it. It was a "game" by the American economic aristocracy. The businesses, the banks, the corporations, and the richest citizens were trying to regain control of the nation. If this had been a liberal "game" it would most certainly have been labeled a conspiracy, and probably a communist conspiracy, but being a conservative "game", it would have been called a shrewd business plan. And make no mistake, it was a shrewd plan.

The economic aristocracy was still angry about losing control of governance after the debacle of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Recession of the 1930s. As a result of that depression the nation turned to FDR and his New Deal, finally establishing some semblance of real democracy, and turning governmental attention to the plight of the ordinary citizens of this nation. The economic aristocracy holds a grudge, perhaps better than nearly any other group, and it was bound and determined to regain what it saw as its rightful and entitled position of leadership. What did ordinary people know about ruling wisely or responsibly?

That economic aristocracy had been waging a relentless war against communism, beginning with the Russian Revolution of 1917, seeing communism as an alternative to capitalism and therefore as a threat to capitalism's dominance. That domination represented the very bedrock of the existence of the American economic aristocracy. In the process, they began to use whatever was handy to further their position. They spoke as though capitalism and democracy were the same thing. They eventually labeled everything liberal or progressive, or connected with the Democratic Party as communist - name calling and demonizing as per Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy, and the Un-American Activities Committee.

World War II had also given corporations and that economic elite a foot in the door to begin to regain their power with war production, continuing Cold War military spending, as well as the Marshal Plan spending.

That economic elite had begun to weaken the Truman administration and the Democratic Party with their inuendoes and saw Eisenhower as a move back toward their old power.

The Challenge of Kennedy:

But then Kennedy won over Nixon and the Democrats were, perhaps, making a comeback. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Kennedy could see that the CIA had a mind of its own and could not necessarily be trusted in terms of foreign affairs. Next came the Cuban Missile Crisis after which Kennedy began to see that neither Khrushchev nor Castro really wanted a war and if that were true, there might be an opening to end the Cold War. Kennedy was also rethinking our role in Vietnam and even looking at the oil depletion allowances.

All those issues suggested changes in a power structure that the economic elite relied upon. The Cold War and Vietnam were sacred cows to their corporate profits as was the oil depletion allowance. The CIA did not like Kennedy's meddling in what it saw as its purview as "true believers". Besides that, Kennedy was contemplating changes in the leadership of the CIA and perhaps the FBI. However, up to this time in Vietnam, the CIA had been given a relatively free hand resulting in testing techniques of regime change, with assassinations, political manipulation, and other black ops.

To the economic elite, Kennedy's plan looked too much like a return to a New Deal kind of resurgence of democratizing forces and a move away from top-down control.

Ever since the early years of the nation, the economic aristocracy retained most of the power, allowing some democracy when it came to fighting wars or expansionist policies. The Civil War was somewhat of a diversion, but that was quickly corrected with the assassination of Lincoln.

After they saw what Kennedy was contemplating, the economic aristocracy lost its patience with the idea of a limited democracy. Enough was enough. They had to nip this in the bud. And with the assassination of President Kennedy the die was cast. Manipulation was in full bloom. Their "game", their business plan was beginning to unfold.

Although Johnson carried out many of the Kennedy initiatives like Civil Rights and education, his roots were still with the economic aristocracy and in that line, he escalated the Vietnam War, ultimately getting trapped in the backlash. He withdrew from the 1968 election in the face of anti-war sentiment.

And then came the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and later Robert Kennedy. The two surviving democratizing leaders were now eliminated. That left Humphrey who Johnson kept tethered till the last few weeks before the election, and who, in spite of that, was gaining on Nixon till the end. Meanwhile Kissinger had been manipulating the Vietnam peace negotiations to stall them to assure a Nixon victory.

The era of manipulation had clearly started and would continue on from there.

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Climate Reality Project Advocate, author, writer, video blogger and retired educator and empowerment consultant. I have a deep belief in participatory democracy, the value of ordinary people and finding a path to a sustainable future..

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