“What If?”: Remembering Kennedy 50 Years Later

The ever elusive question: “what if?”. These two simple words have the ability to haunt many due to the unknown factor they question. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. While many questions surrounding this event question what happened and why it happened, I want to address a separate issue: What if Kennedy had not been assassinated? Kennedy was a relatively young president who had several issues he did not get a chance to finish addressing.

The rather inexperienced socialite politician entered the Presidency at a difficult time; the Vietnam War and Bay of Pigs Crisis, a rough economic situation, and a civil rights issue, Kennedy was facing a plethora of tasks to be completed. After some risky business with Cuba, Kennedy was able to grasp the situation in time and come to a partial treaty, all the while, the economy managed to improve. When Kennedy was killed, he was still in the middle of dealing with issues that Johnson was forced to resume for him.

The Civil Rights Act passed in 1964 after Johnson pushed for it in “honor” of Kennedy; it can be assumed that if Kennedy had not been killed, the same outcome would have taken place. He had planned to wait until his hopeful second term as President to pass this. The upcoming Election of 1964 was also a pending topic on Kennedy’s plate. He expected to face some issues in the race because of his support for civil rights; in fact, one of his major reasons for visiting Dallas was to attempt to build some bridges of support, even though he had not won their support in the prior vote (in a close race). The question of whether or not Kennedy would have won the election can be raised and pondered, but no answer can be definite. Kennedy did have a popular vote of 58% approval rating when he was in office, this being higher than that of other re-elected presidents.

Kennedy had been a major supporter of moon exploration. He had chosen Houston, Texas to be the location of the headquarters of the space research and had also promised to have America on the moon by the end of the decade. He was unfortunately not alive long enough to see the astronauts land in 1969. One can question if there might have been more urgency in exploring space had Kennedy been alive to continue making the appropriate messages of urgency, or if the space timeline would remain the same as it did.

While the President was dismissed from life early, his legacy remains today, especially for North Texas during this time of remembrance. The greatly admired figure lost his life but his spirit remains, setting a youthful example of idealism. Being killed in the midst of these issues caused even more confusion and chaos to the United States, but also managed to bring the country together in the time of mayhem, allowing us to thrive and build off of this great tragedy, just as I can imagine Kennedy would have wanted us to.

Sources:

http://millercenter.org/president/kennedy/essays/biography/1

http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2012/11/what-if-jfk-had-survived-his-assassination/

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2 Responses to “What If?”: Remembering Kennedy 50 Years Later

  1. Pingback: 1964 | Eradica

  2. Pingback: Kennedy Remembered – Is His Legacy Lost? | ThomPayne.net

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