Friday, 22 November 2013

The Kennedy Issue

    For El Gringo Viejo, he was sitting in Mr.  Jerry Lofton's fourth-period Civics and Economics, Major Work class.   I was just one of the preppies in Bostonians with no socks (fad of the moment), Levi's with cuffs rolled to the inside, never outside by that point.  We were engaged in a bit of discussion with Mr. Lofton, the few Democrats in the class, and the body of people, while he also prepared to pass out our "weekly", which was half essay and half multiple choice and /or true-false.  It was easy and hard....if a person had done the readings and remotely listened / participated in the class discussion / arguments, then he/she could almost always score 90 or better.
     The P-A System that connected every classroom, nook, and cranny of the McAllen High School campus with the front office suddenly began to crackle a bit....the usual sign that an announcement was impending.   Then there was some hard-to-discern conversation...just voices...we could recognise who was speaking but not what was being said.   Jane Martin said, "I hope they have more problems with the jet engine, and they have to let us go after this class."  The McAllen High School physical plant started life with a T- 38 jet engine that was converted into a system to generate electricity.   It failed during its first year of operation so frequently that students were officially advised to carry a flashlight in order to make it around in the windowless building.   Man, did we ever want to go back to our old, familiar run down building in the centre of town.

     Then, Mr.  Marion Sell, a first-class jerk, principal of the  9th biggest high school in the Republic of Texas, came on, clearing his throat several times, and finally ominously intoning, "This announcement is to inform everybody that the President of the United States has been shot in Dallas, and is apparently dead.   We shall make another announcement fairly shortly concerning the remaining class schedule for to-day."  It was 12:42....only 22 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
      We were stunned.   The class was 60% Republican, 10% Democrat, the rest dedicated whatevers.   Jane Martin declared, "Well, at least we're going to be let out early."
      Mr. Lofton, who was a dedicated theoretical conservative...leaning Republican....and most of us believed he was a poofy....said, "Jane?" immediately causing Jane to say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way." to which Mr. Lofton said, "Let us pray for the President and his family and the Republic....and he offered something to this effect, "Almighty Father, guide us in the troubled hours to come.  Help the Kennedy family, who has already lost so much.  Watch over Caroline and John John, and this we pray in your Son's name, Amen."   The Romans and Episcopalians crossed themselves and we all sat back down for what seemed to be forever....three...perhaps five minutes.

      There was another announcement by Mr. Sell, saying that the bus students would leave two hours early (13:20), and the remainder of the students could leave the campus at the end-of-period bell, which would ring in about 12 minutes.   The bell rang, we went homeward, mostly through the other homes of friends.   It was a long weekend.   I served the early Mass at Saint John's, which started a 07:00 on Sunday morning.  That service was typically a no sermon, no music, only Eucharistic candles lit, only one acolyte to attend to the priest.   Usually there would be 50 or so communicants,  but on this day there were about 190, if I recall correctly.   And being an Episcopal Church, these people were, at a minimum, 90% of them GOP adherents.
 This is Oswald, perhaps one/ fifth of a
second after being shot.  Being shot at
that anatomical place, the knees buckle
and the pain is so severe that almost
anyone falls unconscious and enters
into profound shock. Recovery is
almost always impossible. 
     We had a television in 1958...the same one we had in 1963....a big, bulky Packard Bell...probably the best television ever built.  I changed into the Levi-official uniform...white, sleeveless t-shirt...turned the television on and in a few short minutes was treated to some loon blowing Lee Harvey's guts to shreds with a well-place navel shot....perfectly placed to silence the object of your pistol's affection.   This note:   If you ever need to kill someone and make certain that he does not talk, and you don't want to try a head-shot because of the chance of too much collateral damage to innocents, the place to hit is that area just below the belly-button.   That is because it becomes impossible for a person to speak...he bleeds out before the surgeons can intervene and sew him up, and all is well....all secrets are kept.  It's almost like Ruby knew where to aim.
      It's almost like he also just happened to use a .38 Special hollow-point bullet, the kind of bullet that attempts to disintegrate as the lead and copper jacketing shred through all nature of flesh and tissue.   No bullet was recovered from the body of Lee Harvey Oswald....
   To begin, Texas was not a hot-bed of Republican and/or rightwing activity at that time.   We had the Birchers, but they were intellectual and not bomb-throwers in any wise.   While Dallas was a "stronghold" of the GOP in Texas, it should be remembered that there entire delegation to the American Congress, two senators, about 19 congressmen, all State-wide office-holders, all county judges, all judicial judges, all county commissioners, all justices of the peace, constables, and short...anyone elected in an election requiring party affiliation...were Democrats.   The exception was one fellow, Bruce Alger who was elected in a fractured argument situation between Democrat Conservatives and liberals in Dallas, in 1954.   Alger was re-elected several times before being replaced by fellow Republican Jim Collins in 1964.   These people were not snipers and assassins, however....they were very country-club, gentlemanly, and kind people.    I am not being sarcastic.
     However....up to and until around 1965....99% of all elected offices in Texas had their office-holders settled, not in the general election in November, but rather in the Democrat Primary in May, with the run-offs in June.   Such is still the case in the lower 1/6th of Texas to-day....although the number of GOP Latins as a percentage of the population continues to inch up, daily.

     There was one fire-brand sort, Maj. Gen. Edmund Walker, USArmy who was admonished by Ike as President for referring to Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman as "pinkoes" .  Walker resigned from his commission, but Ike refused his resignation and ordered him to the command of the 49th Infantry Division in the NATO command in Germany.  Walker had an impeccable WWII and Korean War record.   During his stay in Germany, Walker got in trouble again by directing his troops to think and vote the right way for the sake of America.   He edged over the line in his animation and this time was "resigned" by President Kennedy.  There was no real anger with Kennedy, the biggest disagreement being Kennedy's "Interdependence Speech" on July 4th of 1962...I which Kennedy pointed out that America was now an "Interdependent Nation" being necessarily allied with many democracies in the effort to confront and destroy communist imperialism.   Walker was disturbed that "interdependence" should not be celebrated on the day of "independence".   I remember well the "Independence Rally" at Archer Park. (4 July 1963) in the centre of downtown McAllen  (US 83 and Main) with the Birchers, part of the McHigh School band, and about 2,000 people.  They were all Tea Party people....talkers and voters....but no assassins.   They were all good, dull, solid people.   I was there with the Teenaged Republican stand, raising money, passing out propaganda that was designed, I guess, to preach to the choir.   At that time El Gringo Viejo was in his last few months of being the President of the largest Teenaged Republican Club in the United States.....we had 344 paid Democrat dominated Texas! ?
     Walker, interestingly enough, was the object of an assassination attempt in April of 1963.   It was determined by "someone" that Lee Harvey Oswald was probably involved in that attempt that sent a bullet into the living room window of the Walker residence one night in Dallas, Texas.
Edwin A. Walker.jpg
Maj. Gen. Edmund Walker
     Walker ran third in the Democrat primary in 1964 in the election for Governor.  He was quite popular....but no revolutionary.   He had gone to Oxford, Mississippi during the time of the integration of the University of Mississippi by James Meredith.   The press said that he had gone to cause trouble and resist the effort...the opposite was true, however.   He had gone as a proven military leader of white men and black men to counsel restraint, brotherhood, and calm.   Bobby Kennedy who knew a little but not much about Southerners and Texans, over-reacted and had the FBI arrest Walker, over J. Edgar Hoover's objection, and placed into an insane asylum for ninety days (shades of CCCP politics).   A psychiatrist evaluated Walker and ordered him released on the fifth day, declaring that he would not participate in a sham commitment.    The doctor was some kind of European, no Klanner or anything...and Bobby came off looking like the jerk that he could be, sometimes.
     These things were going on in Texas at that time.
My mother and God-mother were poobahs in the Hidalgo County Democrat Party, they had been delegates to the formal State Convention.   Please remember that Hidalgo County was and continues to be the 6th largest of Texas's 254 Counties.    They were also despisers of Lloyd Bentsen, Jr. the local boy who was everybody's favourite liberal/conservative/moderate United States Representative from the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  They also hated Lyndon and Lady Bird because of their totally, thoroughly corrupt nature.
   It is said that people who worked at the station always felt that Lady Bird emptied the retirement accounts of the people at Channel 5 - KRGV radio and television in Weslaco, Texas when they sold the station in the early 1960s.  It was just one tale more, accurate or not,  of scores and scores of peculiar and illegal and immoral actions that made people marvel at the Johnsons' brilliant business acumen.  Anhydrous Ammonia tanks and Billie Sol Estes has a nice ring to it....for some of the Old Timers.

     It would take the arrival of the Clintons before we ever saw casualty counts stack up faster than they did with Lyndon's organisation.


 For a fair, and even understated understanding of the utter worthlessness of Mr. and Mrs. LBJ and their  hypocritical political and social posturing....a person needs to thumb through the book "A Texan Looks at Lyndon" by J. Evetts Haley.   Please consider the words of a liberal, but excellent modern political history writer and analyst:


Joachim Joesten argued in his book, The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1968) that Haley's book, A Texan Looks at Lyndon is an important source of information on Lyndon B. Johnson: "Haley's book may not be a masterpiece in the strictly scholarly sense, and it is certainly not a bible of my political creed, but as source material it is invaluable. For the author is not only a fellow-countryman of Lyndon B. Johnson, but an insider of Texas politics and an old political pro in his own right... That this biography of Lyndon B. Johnson is coloured to a considerable extent by bitterness at his own failure in the political game, as well as by an ingrained dislike of the Rooseveltian tradition (which, alas, also produced LBJ) and a generally ultra-conservative stance, I do not doubt. Still, even after making generous allowance for possible exaggeration due to these factors, there remains in his book so much well-documented fact that it cannot possibly be bypassed by anyone seeking enlightenment about the dark recesses of the Johnson story."

     El Gringo Viejo vigorously urges the OROG to dig up the excellent, although slightly (and reasonably) tainted by personal invective, book that chronicles the morally useless and corrupt Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.   She was, like Hillary, such a nice lady.   She liked Texas wildflowers....isn't that just amazing?   Can you imagine that she was the first one who liked Texas wildflowers?  Some of her best friends were meskins..."I even have bluebonnet pictures by...what's the name of that nice Spanish boy?   Poor Fear  E  O....right Poor Fear E O  Sal E Nas.    He's such a nice person and so talented."  (Am I feeling nauseated?)

     My Godmother and my mother, after making all the jokes about Kennedy having to change the currency from "In God We Trust" to "In the Pope We Hope" and how he would have to go over to the Vatican to consult on legislation and to "kiss the Pope's big toe". settled back to see who was going to be ordained as the Vice-Presidential Candidate for the Democrats.   It had to be Symington because Kennedy was a conservative and he needed a liberal to balance the ticket.   Maybe it would be Humphrey...probably too young.  The hours went by and suddenly Marvin Kalb comes out, looking a lot younger back then for some reason, and says..."We have it on good authority that John Kennedy has asked Lyndon B. Johnson, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate and the second place finisher in the delegate count at this convention, to be his campaign partner and candidate for the Vice Presidency of the United States."

     My mother and my Godmother, at eactly the same time turned to each other and said,  "If he wins, Lyndon will kill him.''    It is my opinion that 10% of all Texans said exactly the same thing upon first hearing of Kennedy's choice.   Before the OROG or visitor snickers, please read the most heavily footnoted parts of Mr. Haley's book, published in 1967.


     Finally, the  issue of the overwhelming popularity of Kennedy, it is a joke.  Kennedy / Johnson won Texas by less than 30,000 votes in 1960, with a Texan on the ballot....he was the least esteemed State-wide officeholder in Texas at the time.   In Washington D.C. he was admired for making things happen, in Texas, it was said, he was admired for not being in Texas.

Consider this:

    The polling of Texas showed a different trend. In the Houston Chronicle, published Nov. 22, 1963 and headlined, "Chronicle Poll Sees Goldwater Over Kennedy; Conservatism Would Carry Republican in Critical Texas Areas" the article claimed, "Sen. Barry Goldwater's conservatism would carry him to a victory over President John F. Kennedy if the presidential election were held today in Texas. If a predictable 2.5 million votes were cast, Goldwater would roll up about 1.3 million to Kennedy's 1.2 million. That would mean a margin of 52 percent for Goldwater to 48 percent for Kennedy, a statewide survey by the Chronicle indicated Thursday. The decisive manner in which Goldwater apparently would take Texas is indicated by comparing his anticipated vote with the presidential vote of 1960, when Kennedy downed Republican Richard Nixon by 46,000 votes for a 51-49 percent margin. General "disenchantment" with the Kennedy administration and an adverse reaction to his civil rights program are the two most frequently mentioned reasons for the President's decline in popularity in Texas. The picture could brighten for Kennedy by voting time next November..." Sadly, the day of this article's publication would be the end of days voters would have a choice to vote again for President Kennedy
     When Kennedy landed in Texas, the Gallup organisation, and others, had noted the old phenomena of "likeable, but....".   The US News and World Report published in October of 1963 that Barry Goldwater had opened a lead over Kennedy in the nationwide spite of the President's likability and popularity.   Texas was one of those States that seemed to be approaching a point of no return, with either Goldwater or Nixon being preferred over Kennedy.   Johnson was being rumoured to be the soon to be ex-Vice President because of certain....should we say.....pressing personal legal matters.
     My parents had a grudging "like-him" factor.   My father lectured me after the 1960 election, saying that there is nothing wrong with this outcome.  It is not the one we wanted, Nixon is the better man.   But Kennedy was a friend of Joe McCarthy and a supporter, like his brother, he is an anti-communist, he's a Christian, and he is a believer in business solutions.   After that I was at rest. Better Nixon, but....Kennedy was no Roosevelt or Wilson.   And be aware, my parents never voted anything but Republican for President during their voting lifetimes.  My mother 15 votes and my father 14 votes...because his first vote, as he stated,...."....was casted by an damned fool. (Roosevelt - 1932)"

Mrs. Brown was so pleased that I
really had done the project well.
I am sure the thought that I had
not just left the assignment on
 my mother's company car seat.
Kennedy and Goldwater on the
cover of the Semester Project.
The caption of the picture was.
"You're a nice guy, Barry, and
I like you, but your politics.."
and one can see Kennedy
 holding his nose.  
Oh! Gringo Viejo, you dream. There is no way you people and you especially at your age could ever have been so involved in such goings-on.
    To respond to that fair observation,  we include a major class assignment that had to be hand-written (in cursive,
of course)  during my Junior Year.  American History, major work, Mrs. Dorothea Brown.
    El Zorro and El Gringo Viejo and quite a cadre of McAllen's spoiled and finest were dedicated militant Republican conservatives.  To my knowledge, only Mary Ann Wycoff (a little older than I ) drifted off into the ne'erland of socialism after attending the University of Texas.
   We have to run. Much writing to do.  The various Zorros and Curmudgeons who are sharing the battlefield have found new Windmills to challenge.  Thanks to all for staying with us.   I am surrounded by associates who are smarter and more well organised.
     Engage and ally with your partners in the war being waged by the marxists against the American Republic and normalcy.
El Gringo Viejo