JACK, WE HARDLY KNEW YE
November 22, 2002
I just realized that tomorrow is the 22nd of November. On November 22, 1963 John F. Kennedy was put to death before the eye of the world. I was ten years old at the time. Like many people, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard this news. I realize that a fairly lightweight little bulletin that reaches a number of people comparable to that of a small Baptist church in Kentucky or a reasonably full Airbus is hardly the place for great moaning polemics on the snuffing by force of liberal ideals or the insidious refusal of fascism to just die of embarassment, but what the hell.
I just didn’t want to let another anniversary go unobserved by me. This little missive is my JFK memorial.
I remember when Jack Kennedy came to my hometown of Pueblo, Colorado in the summer of 1963. Maybe it wasn’t even summer. Maybe it was on the same fatal trip. It would have made sense for him to stop in Colorado before heading further South. He had come to speak upon the allocation by Congress of funds to build a dam and reservoir in Pueblo, a stubbornly arid place.
East 4th Street was the way to Pueblo’s little airport. It was also the main street to the Barrio, the Mexican neighborhood, my neighborhood. All of us mexicans loved Kennedy because he was Catholic like us and because we perceived him as being on the side of those of us outside the grace of white America. We all lined up there on east 4th street, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. As it turned out, he didn’t stop, but he did slow down.
I remember seeing him there, backlit by the glare of the Colorado sun. I was amazed to see that his hair was red. The sun in that red hair made him look like very Apollo himself, Dionysos, Balder, the hung god come to perish for his beauty.
It doesn’t matter that Kennedy turned out to be another Irish machine politico, a spoiled frat boy with a bad back. Like the Russians after Stalin, we were all basking in the thaw after so many numb years under Eisenhower, and like the Russians we would have to learn what it felt like to have the cage door slammed back in our face.
Now we have empty suits like Clinton and Blair and Schroeder and Bush, fronting like the pimps they are for the fascist reptiles who truly call the shots around here. Ah well, I will nip this diatribe in the bud before it goes on too long.
I remember you, Jackie boy. I remember November 22nd. There. I have said enough.