Nightmares And Dreams

Fifty years ago, on this very evening, the same Zenith console TV set, which, five years earlier, had been my window to the spinning out of control world of Dallas, Texas… the site of President Kennedy’s assassination… was “now” providing me a similar view of Memphis, Tennessee.

My recollections are now strong… almost as if I’ve time traveled back to this tragedy. I’m once again an adolescent, age 13, home alone since my folks have gone out for the evening to watch my sister’s performance in her High School Junior Class play. I’d have eagerly tagged along with them had it not been for my body being under siege by a particularly nasty rhinovirus.

Once again, Walter Cronkite has become the bearer of bad news. Once again, his reportage focuses heavily on the death of someone so young and so vital… someone who had said so much of importance… and still needed to say so much more.

Dr. Martin Luther King had been slaughtered, silenced… cut down in his prime… by an assassin’s bullet.

I’m stunned and saddened… those identical, sinking, heavy heart, Dallas magnitude feelings now resurfacing. I had so hoped that in the five years since November 22, 1963, that America had changed… well… at least a little? But knowing that it hadn’t was sickening me far, Far, FAR more than any of my cold’s worst symptoms.

Dr. King must have already seen the sickening writing on the wall… his final speech best described as prophetic…

Senator Bobby Kennedy, a 1968 presidential candidate, delivered his from the heart speech (note how he doesn’t rely on his notes)… deemed to be his finest, ever, oratory. He also gets credited with preventing riots in Indianapolis. Many other cities… nationwide… could not make such a claim.

So, why do I, a Caucasian, feel so strongly about Dr. King? Mainly because I’m a caring, compassionate, colorblind human being.

Beyond that, I do know that poverty, too, is colorblind. I could readily identify with King’s fight to help hardworking, struggling, impoverished Americans achieve The Dream he had spoken of. After all, if there was one thing my eye witnessing my own, low income, schoolteacher parents had taught me, it was that our family of four was unduly burdened by our barely scraping by lifestyle.

To this very day, I can still vividly recall handing over seven, one dollar bills to my Dad… several years worth of my hoarded allowance money, which he had given to me… just so we could put some food on our dinner table that evening. Oh, how my hand-me-down clothing’s patches always had patches. Oh, how I remember our slumlord’s coal fired furnace that could’ve easily carbon monoxide gassed us all to death.

I could never forget (and still can never forget) all the bullies at school, who had verbally and physically assaulted me… even spitting in my face. I now ask… in some small sense… had I not had my own bitter taste as to what it was like to be singled out… profiled… discriminated against… by oppressors?

And while Dr. King’s fight was focused upon helping African-Americans, I believed his spiritual and practical messages to be universal. If ever taken to heart by the elected powers-that-be, that would’ve certainly made my own family’s life… indeed, every impoverished family’s life… better too.

Fast forwarding to more contemporary times… while it’s true it took far, Far, FAR too many decades… no, strike that… centuries in arriving, America did wind up electing and reelecting Barack Obama as our 44th president. In my mind, this was a gleaming ray of hope that We The People were finally turning our backs on our nation’s racist past. And I’ve never been more proud to say that I had had a small part in making that a reality… by my voting for that intelligent, insightful, righteous man both in 2008 and 2012.

But now? Regrettably, America is being gutted by #45, who sucks up to both the KKK and Nazis… who takes sides with racist cops who profile and mow down innocent blacks… who lambastes pro football quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has frequently, justifiably and peaceably protested such police brutality and racial inequality by harmlessly taking a knee during the pregame playing of America’s National Anthem. Which raises the question…

Will this now ongoing, Trumpian nightmare obliterate Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream?

That’ll depend upon whether or not Democrats can regain Congressional majorities this coming November.

 

 

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My Childhood Innocence Was Shot To Hell!

 

The following is an excerpt from my very first WordPress blog*… my memories of 54 November 22nds ago… when… as a (then) 9-year-young boy… a horrific, blood splattered, national tragedy forced me to eyewitness too much age inappropriate content… to grow up way too soon.

 

I voted for John F. Kennedy when I was ONLY six-years-old!

Well… uh… sort of. Here’s what had actually happened…

After Mom had closed the voting booth curtains, hoisted me up to adult eye level and demonstrated how everything worked, she actually let me shift JFK’s lever down! My having done something so grown-up on Election Day 1960 had been a feel good, defining moment in my young life.

As I grew physically, so did my understanding of (and respect for) the immense leverage, which each of those tiny levers can exert in shaping our nation and world. Tragically, not everyone opts in to such a civilized, orderly process. Such was the case on November 22, 1963…

It had been a gray, overcast, rainy Friday. There had been no school for Sis and me (due to parent / teacher conferences). I was just finishing lunch when my sibling came rushing into the dining room. Still clutching her pocket-sized transistor radio, she blurted out…

“Somebody Shot President Kennedy!”

Mom, Sis and I quickly adjourned to the living room. Even before our Zenith TV’s B&W picture tube had fully warmed up, we could already hear one of CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite’s earliest bulletins.

As time came grinding down to a dead halt we felt ourselves rapidly descending into the depths of our nation’s communal shock. There was little else we could do… save for waiting and hoping that our worst fears would not be confirmed. But…

The bad news just kept on spilling forth from our nation’s TV screens while Kennedy’s dream for the betterment of our national / global society, was hemorrhaging forth from his head wounds… dying along with this great man.

Eventually, Cronkite had to choke back his own overwhelming sorrow as he reported…

“From Dallas, Texas… the flash apparently official… President Kennedy died at 1 p.m., Central Standard Time… 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time… some thirty-eight minutes ago.”

And that’s the way it was… the feel rotten, defining moment in my young life. The President I had “voted” for three short Novembers earlier had been blown away. Bullets… not ballots… had removed John Fitzgerald Kennedy from office and shot to hell my childhood innocence.

 

 

Assassin’s (perhaps assassins’) bullets had also irreparably devastated our entire global society. We can only speculate what the alternate timeline would’ve been… what our present day world would now look like had JFK opted to stay in DC 54 years ago, today… had kept a low profile for the remainder of his time in the Oval Office (he likely would’ve won a second term).

I do think it fair to conclude that had the voters witnessed what a real president’s policy and demeanor should be… had JFK been able to usher into reality his visions for a better world and better day… our electorate would’ve NEVER, EVER settled for any of his deplorable, dishonorable, stick-figure successors… namely…

The psychotic, “used car dealer”, war-hawk Tricky Dicky Nixon… the labor union busters, devastators of the middle class Ronny Reagan and George H.W. (daddy) Bush… the war criminal / torture chamber manager George W. Bush who on 9/11, first, got caught with his CIC pants down  and, next, went on a rampage to fear monger Americans into granting him carte blanche… to recklessly trash U.S. Constitutional freedoms and needlessly, pointlessly war monger his way into no-win invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq… to stupidly allow himself to be morphed into the ventriloquist dummy / puppet of his own VP; the evil, greedy, sociopathic, war criminal Dick Cheney.

And saving the worst of the very worst for the very last, real Americans would’ve booed and hissed the xenophobic, homophobic, narcissistic, misogynistic, jingoistic, materialistic, infantile, senile, bullying #45 right off the stump.

Well… long sad sigh… to borrow and update Walter Cronkite’s sign-off catchphrase…

 

And that’s the way it is November 22, 2017.

 

 

If you’re a fan of sci-fi twinged, episodic TV… writer J. Neil Schulman’s “what if JFK had survived Dallas” themed alternate reality gets brought to life by the cast and crew of the classic TV series, Twilight Zone… this particular installment titled: Profile In Silver

 

 

*My debut blog, A Tale of Two Timelines Part I, is filed away in my Archive. For those who’d like to access it, click onto March 2016 and scroll down… way down.

 

CBS NEWS BULLETIN

 

The following is an excerpt from my very first WordPress blog… my memories of 53 November 22nds ago when, as a (then) 9-year-young boy, a national tragedy forced me to face down too much age inappropriate content… to grow up way too soon.

I voted for John F. Kennedy when I was ONLY six-years-old!

Well… uh… sort of. Here’s what had actually happened…

After Mom had closed the voting booth curtains, hoisted me up to adult eye level and demonstrated how everything worked, she actually let me shift JFK’s lever down! My having done something so grown-up on Election Day 1960 had been a feel good, defining moment in my young life.

As I grew physically, so did my understanding of (and respect for) the immense leverage, which each of those tiny levers can exert in shaping our nation and world. Tragically, not everyone opts in to such a civilized, orderly process. Such was the case on…

November 22, 1963 ~ It had been a gray, overcast, rainy Friday. There had been no school for Sis and me (due to parent / teacher conferences). I was just finishing lunch when my sibling came rushing into the dining room. Still clutching her pocket-sized transistor radio, she blurted out…

“Somebody Shot President Kennedy!” Mom, Sis and I quickly adjourned to the living room. Even before our Zenith TV’s B&W picture tube had fully warmed up, we could already hear one of CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite’s earliest bulletins.

As time came grinding down to a dead halt we felt ourselves rapidly descending into the depths of our nation’s communal shock. There was little else we could do… save for waiting and hoping that our worst fears would not be confirmed. But…

The bad news just kept on spilling forth from our nation’s TV screens while Kennedy’s dream for the betterment of our national / global society, was hemorrhaging forth from his head wounds… dying along with this great man. Eventually, Cronkite had to choke back his own overwhelming sorrow as he reported…

“From Dallas, Texas… the flash apparently official… President Kennedy died a 1 p.m., Central Standard Time… 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time… some thirty-eight minutes ago.”

And that’s the way it was… the feel rotten, defining moment in my young life. The President I had “voted” for three short Novembers earlier had been blown away. Bullets… not ballots… had removed John Fitzgerald Kennedy from office and shot to hell my childhood innocence.

Up till then, TV had been a source of light entertainment… but… Cronkite’s pioneering venture into live, breaking news, non-stop coverage, reality TV… proved neither. Worse yet, one could never make the Kennedy Assassination “go away” by merely switching channels or by turning off the TV. Nothing could’ve ever changed that horrifying outcome… one which… even today…  is perpetually, sending debilitating shockwaves outward from that Dealey Plaza Ground Zero… all across the space-time continuum.

Even now, more than half a century later, my vivid, as if they had just happened mere seconds ago, memories can and do cause tears to well up in my eyes.

For anyone, especially someone as young as I had been, learning to cope with these issues would not be getting any easier. Two days later, I was among millions of TV viewers who had become eyewitnesses to the live network broadcast of vigilante Jack Ruby gunning down alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

While some folks might applaud an-eye-for-an-eye “justice”… innocent until proven guilty is the law of the land and I, among many, believe Oswald should’ve had his day in court. We might’ve even discovered the answers to all the still lingering, unanswered questions.

Now, whether you had actually watched and “survived” all of that long ago bloodshed or have merely read about it in America’s history books… I’ll bet you, like I, have oft fantasized about traveling back into time to save the life… save the presidency of John F. Kennedy… and have also wondered… with a successful outcome… what would America be like today?

I now invite you to read about… or better yet… view here… a compelling, alternate reality to November 22nd… as presented by TV’s “The Twilight Zone”… the episode titled “Profile In Silver”. Observing actor Andrew Robinson’s performance… his so convincingly bringing JFK back to life… can and does evoke tears of joy.

 

ADDENDUM posted 12/07/16 10:10 a.m. to modify blog’s final paragraph / replace YouTuber’s removed “Twilight Zone” video.