Wednesday, February 2, 2011

JFK: The 50th Anniversary

The most recent public opinion polls I've seen on the JFK assassination are a little dusty. They go back nearly eight years, to November 2003, when ABC reported that 70% of those who were asked "suspect a plot."

We'll see some new surveys as we approach the fiftieth anniversary. Assuming they are honest (a risky assumption), there shouldn't be much change. The numbers have fluctuated somewhat over the years, but have consistently shown that at very least, the majority of Americans "suspect a plot."

Far more important is how many people still care. Most, I humbly submit, do not.

This is due largely to the passage of so much time. Most people now alive were not yet born when the assassination happened. Oliver Stone's JFK energized us for a time, but that has long since passed. Anymore, the Kennedy assassination is just a history lesson – and a confusing one, at that.

The Warren Commission said one guy did it. Fifteen years later the House Select Committee concluded there was "probably" a conspiracy. The Assassination Records Review Board skirted the matter, emphasizing the release of assassination records and – gulp! – restoring government credibility.

All along, there has been a deluge of books promoting often-conflicting theories. The not surprising result of all this is uncertainty. "One of the primary means of immobilizing the American people politically today," wrote E. Martin Schotz in 1992, "is to hold them in a state of confusion in which anything can be believed but nothing can be known, nothing of significance that is."

And that leaves us in a curious place. Most people believe there was a conspiracy to kill a duly elected president, but don't know its nature. It was a long time ago, though, so who cares?

Even though we know there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, those of us actively studying it seem unable to make much difference. We can't crack the media and we can't ignite the masses.

Instead of objective analyses of our issues, the media keeps feeding us leftovers: assassination re-enactments, new tests to prove the single bullet theory, and new attempts to shoot three rounds in six seconds from a third-rate weapon.

This is a great danger. To those who haven't read much in the field, and who don't much care to begin with, some of the lone nut nonsense might just seem plausible.

With the Internet, we can become the media. This is no small thing; David, after all, slew Goliath. But the Internet can be made to disappear, as it did in Egypt.

And then there is the lack of unity within our ranks. This is aggravated by some of our luminaries, who assume proprietary attitudes toward certain issues. Even worse is the promotion of ideas that make us all look ridiculous. In some ways we're our own worst enemy.

The fiftieth anniversary is still more than two years away, but we are already in a crucial phase. We must find a way to stand as one in the name of truth. We must emphasize those matters we have in common, since we share a common goal. We must find a way to make people care.

The propaganda war is on, and will only intensify as we near November 22, 2013. For as we reach the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination, the primary objective of our opponents will be to bury this case once and for all.

They are the enemies of truth.

The quotation "One of the primary means of immobilizing..." is from History Will Not Absolve Us, by E. Martin Schotz.

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