Fifty years and still mourning our loss.

I just finished writing something that I want to share on this sad day, even if it is seven hundred words long.
hmmm, I better go to bed, it’s pumped up to over 800 words. But, it feels good trying to get it down.
Another morning, fresh eyes and I’m back down to 683 words.

Guess it’s time to call it finished and get on with the day.

Recollecting November 22nd, 1963, and the assassination of our President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and the loss of a nation… of the world. Up until I was eight years old, life was a scattered recollection of emerging awareness of the world around me. Then, while climbing the stairs to the second floor of John J. Audubon Elementary school in Chicago, Illinois - I overheard an older guy descending the stairs telling his friend: "Did you hear? The President's been shot!" The news meant something big, then and there. That feeling was reinforced within the minute it took to complete my trek to the classroom. The somber teacher, the being sent home early, the stunned walk home through a hushed neighborhood. Then the look of my mother and the tears she could not hide when we got home. The following day we drove to my grandparents and spent the subsequent days in a vigil around their TV trying to absorb what had happened until our President was laid to rest. It's the earliest period of my young life where I remember a sequence of many days. Sort of a brutal slap in the face letting me know that the outside world does make a difference to my own little world. You have to understand, my parents loved the Kennedy's, and radio and news had always been in our home. More importantly for us kids, we had a copy of the hit comedy album "Vaughn Meader's The First Family" {that never played again} and all of us found something to laugh about... plus, for us young kids, it was an introduction to many international Who's Who names of the day and weirdly helpful during Current Events lessons. The Kennedy's seemed like distant, but much loved uncles, aunts and cousins. In hindsight, it felt like they offered my immigrant family a real sense of inclusion and hope that the future was not going to be a repeat of their ugly European history of endless conflict and wars. The hope that society and the powers-that-be actually learned some lessons from the bloodbaths and wanton waste of WWI and WWII... but we shall never know. Although a child and unaware, I had caught the buzz of our parents that things were looking good under the Kennedy Administration. Beyond my limited awareness of the time, I now know that things were looking good and a new generation was indeed taking the reins of power and steering a course guided by a more hopeful and thoughtful approach to addressing issues. One that offered an opportunity to constructively learn from mistakes and move forward based on an acceptance that other experiences and voices deserve to be listened to and taken into account. But, then a half century ago today America's "New Generation" had their grip on the "reins of power" obliterated by a couple bullets shot in Dallas, Texas. Ironically, history shows it was thus that Texas oil money, plus other traditional "military industrial complex" types thoroughly regained the 'field of power' and the rest is history, as they say. We shall never know what may have been - but a review of what has been, reveals a pathetic history of unnecessarily self-destructive adventures and betrayal of our fundamental principles, mistake upon mistake that have enriched a few, but cost our nation and we regular citizens dearly. Consider the legacy as reflected in the sales of weapons of mass destruction - it's about our only growth industry happening. Or, look at the manmade Global Warming dialogue where instead of a serious collective learning process, it has been reduced to a PR circus of misrepresentations, slander and stonewalling within a political climate of faith-based absolutism and ruthless dirty tricks. So as this evening's news segues from our fallen President ~ the man who was capable of recognizing and dealing with the world as it was, the man who was capable of admitting mistakes and learning from them, the man who wasn't afraid of constructively dealing with adversaries ~ back to our current dysfunctional Washington politicians, people who are more interested in destroying political adversaries than in resolving any real world problems - I once again mourn the loss of a world that may have been.

That day is burned into my memory banks too. I was in third grade, sitting in class when the principal’s voice came over the intercom telling all teachers to come to his office. A few minutes later, five maybe ten, our teacher returned to class in tears and announced the president had been shot and our parents were coming to take us home. My mother was slowly dying of cancer and the one shining light in my world, the man who gave me hope for a brighter future, was gone. I lost my innocence when I was eight years old.

Yea, and to think that emotion rang through so many of us young people,
and considering the contempt we young’un developed as we grew up is a reflection of that moment and it’s rippling ugly aftermath we can never be escaped.

I’ve deleted a few false starts. What’s left to say, one hideous mistake in a string of lost opportunities, one after the other. We are amazing intelligent, but so gut wrenchingly stupidly self-serving and blind to the big picture. We had it so good and pissed it all away, because too much was never enough.

Now the tough years are starting, new generations will never know the world we took so for granted and pissed away. So long ago, but it was definitely a moment of hope that was cut too short too fast on this day. In the long sweep of history definitely a tipping point in corporates ultimate hostile take over of our one time government of the people, for the people, by the people - which seems to be only a couple elections away from being consummated. Then American will start learn what third world desperation is all about.

But we slept, got lazy, got brain washed, got dumbed down, lost sight of the ball - guess we never did have anything in sight. Seems to me, we never got past thinking it was all about the bigger house, car, party, bragging rights.

I was 9. It was the day C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley died too. As the song says. The day after, MOST importantly, Doctor Who started. My parents and maternal grandparents were devastated in our little terraced council house. I remember their fear, probably on another Friday a year before, October 26th, when we were 8 hours away from nuclear war in which our home was within blast and burn radius, 10 klicks from a nuclear bomber base. I watched one crash once. As they couldn’t hit Nevada on a clear day we’d have survived for the fallout to kill us.

Thank God for Commander Vasily Arkhipov.

The myth of Camelot is beguiling, but if LHO had missed we’d still be here in every sense.

Okay the reality wasn’t as perfect as perfectionists wanted.

It was still a hell of a lot better than the Texas Oil Men and their me, me, me and fuk the rest attitude. Look at where we went after his assassination and where we are today.
At least Kennedy had a respect for education and encouraged our better angels.

But we choose Reagan and Roger Stone’s brand of thinking: If I can take it, no matter how, it’s mine and f u.

Where we went has nothing to do with his assassination. Apart from feeding conspiracy theories. Johnson did more for civil rights. Kennedy was already in Vietnam. We’d be here.

Well, if you want to look at it that way, nothing in the past two millennia has anything to do with man’s drive to self-destruction - it’s all pre-ordained.

But to say that blowing up that mind, that man, his Administration, made no difference to the future course of American internal politics, VietNam or American power politics, is as patently foolish as seeing it through all rose colored glasses.

The missile crisis showed that Kennedy had an intellect capable of dealing with VietNam more sanely, than Johnson’s ‘brain trust’ of oil hillbillies turned megamillionaires and power hungry.

History is deterministic, nothing rosy about it. American theocapitalism was in full throttle, nothing could stop it.

Deterministic doesn’t mean preordained.

Small changes in initial situation can result in radically different outcomes.

Kennedy came into power during that brief moment when humanity came face to face with the very real likelihood that if we continued on the same course, we’d destroy our culture, civilization, then mankind altogether.

There was a tiny window of opportunity to recognize and react. Kennedy was a deep enough thinker, I believe he would not to have buried that very f’n real human reality - the way the Texas Oil Oligarchs and other greed blinded interested managed to do - the rest is speculation.

It would have only taken little nudges to make a big positive difference in the way this century is going to play. Instead, now all we are seeing is our free fall into a hideous chaotic and very painful future, that has no future for us in it.

Future history is a chaos sink, not a source. I don’t see any window of opportunity with foresight, only hindsight. I cannot see any little nudges in play. So 3 degrees by the end of the century.

Funny that we consider Kennedy some kind of great president. He was a serial adulterer and he and his administration played fast and loose with assassination, sabotage, putting out fake leaks to confuse the news cycle, etc (any of that sound familiar?).

Which is fine, maybe that’s what all POTUSs do, but then don’t make them out to be such great people. Sort of like Al Capone donating huge sums to charity. The good doesn’t erase the bad.

I don’t see how any of that business as usual has anything to do with the proposition that we lost someone who would have changed the course of history for the better, which is patent nonsense. Like the absurd claim that we came so close to fixing climate change a generation and more ago. We only learn by suffering, there are no short cuts, we have to go down every cul de sac, every blind alley and come back up, leaving the dead behind. And even then the lesson of history is that there is none. We always find new dead ends to go down that we’ve never been down before. The survivors learn. Standing on a mound of corpses. We all have the fantasy of going back to pivotal ages and changing everything. We’d still find new ways to go wrong even if we excelled at maths. We are one dumb monkey.

Part of what changed the U.S., possibly the world, but mainly the U.S. was, IMO, the assassination of Kennedy. However, we were probably headed to war in Vietnam given that LBJ took us there. Then again, the violence just become more in our faces, so maybe we were already there. Financially though, we were on a prosperous course as a nation, but at the same time were also on a collision course with Climate change too. So maybe his assassination didn’t exactly change the U.S., but it definitely hasten faster course towards where we are now.

Let’s be clear I never made any such claim. I said we had a short window of opportunity and we pissed it away!!! We turned our back on knowledge and the future and decided we wanted to gobble up all the goodies for ourselves.

You can take comfort current events, you are being proven correct, people are absolutely self centered and garbage sentimentalities like goodness, empathy, nurturing don’t exist beyond the thinnest of veneers and that don’t get past your kin.

Now what I was taking about was the moment roughly around 1960s/1970s, a moment like none other in human history.

Instantaneous global communication became a reality.

For the first time humanity was able to access the entirety of this planet that always seemed to have endless horizons/opportunities and limitless resources, and it turned out to have real physical limits. All pretty straightforward and understandable.

We were also utterly shocked/frightened at the way human population was starting to add up and where it was headed.

We, as a people momentarily publicly faced the fact that our current course was untenable for the well being of future generations.

Beginning with the " International Geophysical Year (57/58) and the Plate Tectonics revolution (mid '60s), Air Force Cambridge (Atmospheric) Research Lab (especially 1945to70s - quantifying GHG’s thermo profile, i.a.), realization of the population explosion ( '60s)

Up until that time we prided ourselves on working our fingers to the bones, so that our children could have better lives.

Now here we were, the beneficiary of those generations worth of sacrifice and dreaming of better lives for our children. Now it was time for us to set our priorities, who would win, our children, or our desire to party hardy and have it all, and then even more, if you had the right stuff to crush some heads and walk on bodies.

Now we had those great lives, if we could pace ourselves, sort of like sane people do when suddenly stuck on a life raft, ‘husbanding’ your supplies, we could have spread out our bounty for many generations to come. You know the unthinkable, like trying to make what we have go further, so that we can stretch out our futures further.

Like learning enough about this planet that supplies our life support system, and it’s biosphere, to want to nurture it some, rather than suck it dry as fast as possible.

Instead, we turned our backs on all our past ideals, honesty no longer meant anything, facts were toys to be played with and demolished, respect for education and experience is now to be pissed on and Dirty Political Tricksters have become the heroes, while the masses just do what comes natural, follow the leader.

One of the saddest things for me is how content you, and the others, are with that state of affairs and our society’s coming downfall with all the horror that will see. I keep trying to get numb to it, but dang guess my allegiance is with this fantastical planet that I’m watching getting destroyed before my eyes, it never stops hurting.

You know when I was kid, back at Bell Avenue, had neighbor who liked talking about the early explores and mountain men, the trappers and finding arrow heads in his back yard back in Minnesota. He and my older brother would also talk about the great explorations and at school I learned the map still held a few ever so tiny Blank Spaces, and a thought-filled kid could still imagine a limitless world, just waiting to be explored. A lousy 60 years later, and this kid is witness to the slowly inclining slippery slidy slope, start easing its way ever closer to a coming free falling cascade as Earth adjusts to her coming greenhouse global heat and moisture energy regime.

Not the end of the world, no, just a transition into a hell of a Earth, with weather and cascading consequences that we still can’t imagine. The tragedy is, this horror show is just starting, while the band plays on.

Okay so we are just dumb creatures, with a lot of window dressing that give us fat heads.

I’ll go to my grave disappointed that the better angels in those fat heads, never rose above their petty egotistical glutinous ruthless and ever so reptilian instincts,
and never even put up a decent fight for this planet as we knew and loved it - and if you find that worth laughing at, have at it.

A small shift of attitude and priorities in the 1960’s 1970’s and the world would look a whole lot different.

All it would have taken was demanding honesty in our debate.

But Creating Doubt and Dirty Tricks became the currency of our leaders. Distracting away from facts and knowledge and decision making, while playing cowards’ kicking the can.

If people understood this planet as a being the sustains us, as a real thing with a real history that is awesome beyond anything Hollywood could imagine and courses through out blood, then people would have had a reason to care.

But that was then and this is now.
We still don’t want to know anything about our planet or its biosphere or the climate engine that drives all of it and we rather allow society to slip back into idiotic political theater, as the masters of the universe pulling the strings are now into manufacture civil strife - while bridges and roads and mountainsides and town, etc are being smashed by extreme weather events. It’s beyond mind boggling.

Enjoy the smug feelings while ya can, cause like they say, you can run, but we can’t hide from the weather.

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The trick is to to empathize with all of human nature. Not condemn any of it. Especially that in those we give power to. Evolution has wired us thus. Your '60s-70s ‘window’ is a hindsight illusion. All very understandable like all of our stories, fables, fiction. No less than religious ones. Just us looking for significance in our helpless privilege. As for civilization, our brains follow our hands which grasp for our gut and gonads. One of these centuries we’ll really start to tax wealth.

The 60s/70s hindsight might be an illusion, but that’s when things picked up. There were more fluorocarbons in the atmosphere, more pollution in general, and while they were getting the lead out of gas and paint, it was still in pipes, but we were too lazy to fix that and no one cared. The list goes on and on as to what people started not caring about, including other humans, but that’s what made it worse. There was once a time when people actually helped each other. It was a survival thing, but now, very few people seem to care if another survives or dies. It’s about the individual, themselves, and what they get out of it.

When did evolution do that? Or is it an emergent property of industrial life? Surely we can point to societies at every stage of that development now and you can demonstrate that golden age in Afghanistan or the Amazon?

The was nothing illusional about this stuff and it was circulated through the media and the public dialogue, there for anyone to pick up and absorb.

There was a new realistic appreciation for what we were doing. Cold, hard, sober - so it was easy to turn away from. But it was there, some moments are unique, don’t you know.

Well, here’s a good place to find the answer to that Martin,

There you go, the new thinking, everything is a fable, science is just another faith and we know nothing about nothing and are nothing but reptiles under hairy skin. You win Martin.