I HAVE AN OLD VINYL RECORD WITH A MESSAGE ABOUT SOMETHING ‘NEW’
As I lay in bed at night one particular evening, trying to fall asleep, thinking about ways I could help change the world and make it a better place, I thought about an old vinyl record I had in my collection.
It was a series of recordings of former President John F. Kennedy. As I struggled to remember most of them, one of the last ones came to mind: It was a speech that JFK made on November 21, 1963, in Houston, Texas, one day before being assassinated in Dallas.
In his speech, he spoke about ‘The New Frontier’, something he said he’d been speaking about for the last three years, and which was a daring new initiative of his government. Essentially, the New Frontier was to be a new series of policies in the fields of science, health, education, and social services, which, if ever fully implemented, would have raised the standard of living of millions of low income and poor Americans, and allowed many of them to obtain access to publically-financed higher education, health care, social services, as well as financing vast new initiatives in the fields of science and technology.
It’s ironic that JFK was assassinated only one day before having spoken once again about these policies, in a southern state to boot. His government, which had enacted many social measures to improve the standard of living of African-Americans, was seen as a threat to the standard of living and propertied interests of white people in the south. At the time of his assassination, JFK had been on a major tour of southern states, trying to shore up support for his government and its policies amongst white southerners.
Obviously some of them didn’t quite agree to play along with him, and the next day he was dead. We may never know what truly happened that day, but I do know that I recently saw a video on You Tube of 1, 6 million southerners marching on Washington, protesting Barak Obama’s policies. The same propertied interests, who ganged up on Kennedy, are ganging up on Obama.
I saw on the video pictures of protesters holding up signs with guns on them, protesting proposed gun control legislation. Another sign said something to effect of ‘If it looks like Socialism, and sounds like Fascism, it probably is’.
What we have are people with lots of money and property who are afraid of having to share some of it with those less fortunate. Think of it: If 1,6 MILLION southerners can afford to fly, or drive their big gas-guzzling SUVs all the way to Washington DC to protest policies that they proclaim to be unfair, then, like Tom Hanks said in Apollo 13, ‘Houston, we have a problem’.
I think that quarter I spent on that old vinyl record was money well-spent. It has kept alive within me and within all who care about democracy, the ideals upon which the New Frontier was founded. To get right back where we started at the very beginning, it all boils down to changing the world, and making it a better place. OK, I can rest my weary head now with a clear conscience, and try and get some shut eye. Tomorrow will come soon enough.