So Now It Begins Again

Random Lengths News | August 5, 2004
While sitting at a popular local pub on the night of John Kerry’s acceptance speech, with the crowd loud with exuberance and optimism, I had this chilling perception that this was like turning the clock back some forty years to hear the echo of JFK. I was witnessing the complete turning of the political dial from the years of innocent optimism of 1960 through the years of the Vietnam War and domestic revolution, the assassinations of Jack and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and through the cynicism of the Nixon years and the scandals of Reagan and Bush. And now we are back at the beginning again, listening to this man from Boston pitching optimism and service to country– the similarities are too great…even unto their initials– JFK.

I have this sense, this fear that this political season will be like the key that unwinds all of these past years, the debates are essentially the same, an illegal war justified by false accusations for the benefit of American hegemony, corporate profits and American military dominance– protected and promoted by propaganda-driven news that shields us from the truth. It is no mistake that the candidate who is chosen to fight this political battle is himself a veteran of both the Vietnam War and peace movements of the 1960’s. What is amazing is that the internal struggle over America’s leadership role among the nations of the world, even after Vietnam, after the wars in Central America and after the end of the Cold War, has come down to exactly the same set of politics that divided America forty years ago. This is not going to be easy.

When John Forbes Kerry took the stage in Boston to make the “speech of his life” accepting the Democratic nomination saying, “reporting for duty,” he could not have stood more clearly in the shadow of his political hero John F. Kennedy, wearing the cloak of heir apparent offered by brother Ted. Kerry has, by his carefully-crafted campaign and his life-path, followed closely these footsteps. And while the crowd cheered wildly for the man, this nation’s best hope for deposing Bush II, I was silently thinking to myself that this is the person who could fulfill the abrogated presidency of JFK, completing, as it were, his second term of office. There has always been that question of ‘what if?’

There is hardly a person alive today, who was living and aware on that fateful day in November 1963 who doesn’t remember exactly where they were the minute they got the news of Jack Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas—just as those living today remember where they were when they first heard of the attacks on 9/11. The subsequent years of political division, conflict, civil turmoil and assassinations have left a scar on the body politic of this country that many say has never fully healed. Since that time there has always been this silent question resonating in the collective subconscious of this generation, “What if these men had lived to see their dreams fulfilled?”

Now I don’t hold any illusions about either Kerry or the Kennedys or the political power that they represent. But neither do I have any doubts about the trail of corruption and scandal that follows nearly all of George Bush’s highest appointees dating back unto the Nixon Watergate years. This is an all-or-nothing election and the Democrats should be prepared for the Republican’s all-out strategy to win-at-any-cost. Vote tampering, purging the voter rolls, paperless electronic voting machines reprogrammed, false terrorist alerts, postponing the election due to terrorist attack, stealing Kerry’s debate notes or even surveillance of the Democratic National headquarters should all be seen as potential threats in the conservative arsenal of political warfare, likely to be used again. In other words I expect the Bushites to steal this election the best way they know how, and to do it as brazenly and as brashly as possible. For I do not believe that this election is about what Bush and Kerry are talking about on the surface. It is about defending the last forty years of mistaken policies that have landed us right back in the middle of war that nobody wants or believes in—nobody except the corporations, the military-industrial complex, and the chicken hawk neo-cons who didn’t go to Vietnam, and certainly won’t send their children off to fight and die for their deluded beliefs in Iraq.

It makes me sick to think that we have to relive all those stupid mistakes all over again. I think I feel a red alert coming on and the Democrats as well as others, the ones who remember, won’t lose courage or cave in to the deceptions of the past. Vigilance, my friends, vigilance, be ever vigilant to those who pose the greatest threat to the republic.

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Founded in 1979 as a counterbalance to the conservative, corporate- owned daily paper, Random Lengths News draws on the rich history of the Los Angeles Harbor Area. The name harkens back to a description of the lumber that used to...
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