Friday, November 22, 2013

To be surrounded

There was no escaping it today--the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. You would have had to have been in a bomb shelter to not know what day it way--away from TV, print, Internet, radio--any way to communicate outside yourself--to not know.

I listened to several people talk about how America lost its collective 'innocence' that day. What bullshit that is.

We had black slaves stolen from Africa for decades. We refused women the vote until the beginning of the last century. We fought a Civil War, two world wars and Korea before JFK was killed. We had a Great Depression.

There was nothing 'innocent' about us--our hands were covered with blood from all that and more.

We were no more 'innocent' in 1963 than we are now--when we cut food stamps and teach to 'tests' rather than 'knowledge' and argue like 12 year old's on the playground about making sure everyone has health insurance and disguise overt racism toward the president as policy disagreement.

Who knows what would have been different had Kennedy lived and had four more years as President? I believe this, the progress against poverty and for civil rights under President Johnson would have been hard to match if JFK hadn't died. And the space program Kennedy promised us came true without him.

We are not 'innocent' and never have been. We might, in the 50's, when I grew up, have been sheltered and naive. But never innocent.

And we are not now. People in the wealthiest country in the history of the world are hungry. People in the country admired for equality are not equal, not at all. Though 'white' Americans will soon be a minority, black and brown and Asian Americans, still, for the most part don't share the 'dream'. Immigrants, which we all were at some point, still struggle to have a taste of the Dream. Women and GLBT folks are still, in spite of all the progress, in harms way in many places in this country.

Don't tell me America 'lost its innocence' 50 years ago today. We have never been 'innocent' and will never be until 'tolerance' becomes 'equality' and wealth is truly shared among all.

I miss him and his brother, after all these years. But let us honor them for who they were, not for who we imagined they would become.

50 years is a real chunk of time. But I remember the day so vividly, so completely.

Ponder, if you are old enough, what this day on a Friday in 1963 was like for you.

That's my gift to you this day--the gift of memory and pondering.....

Be well and stay well, beloved.....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.