I feel sure I have earned the trust of my readers enough to hazard it all on a recommendation. Those of you who are interested in the political facts must be aware of the peculiar political situation which complicates our access to them. So that someone who wanted to understand the presidency of Mr. Barack Obama, would find it very helpful, perhaps necessary, to confront the original, the exemplar of that type, John F. Kennedy.
Why do not we know this man? Why do not the poets of the republic sing this last hero, this last martyr of the liberal faith, in the last age when that faith was a fighting faith? If we wanted tragic poetry, is there a more prominent political family than the Kennedys to which we could look? If we wanted to understand latter-day liberalism, is there anything more urgently needed than to understand its heroes?
This story is liberal: Liberalism loves to destroy heroes, because heroes stand for causes & make claims to justice, maybe claims to rule. They are living refutations of liberal relativism & slavish positivism. But liberal heroes, the younger Roosevelt, Kennedy, the first Clinton, are exempt from this mockery. The skepticism that any beauty attaches to great deeds has withered this exemption. The Kennedys might hate this story of their triumph, but all young Americans need this education.
Among the sharks-like Kennedys, Jack seems a mere barracuda. He almost seems a man of honor, virtue or principle, given his continuous pain & his unconquerable lust, among the power- & money-hungry family. His father Joe’s corruption is one of the infamous stories of that age – he rose to greatness by many crimes, & established his family among the great names of the republic. We see his ruin coming from thinking more of money than power.
So that Joe underestimated Hitler, which ruined him. The great Roosevelt, who destroyed Hitler, rather esteemed power so much more than money that he spent the extraordinary wealth of America in peace & war alike. So that when Jack was elected, though he owed everything to his father’s corruption, the greatest scandal in American electoral history, he tried to rule following the example of Roosevelt.
The election of 1960 showed the future. Americans started hating virtue & loving the image of virtue. So the weakling, the attractive Jack Kennedy defeated the much more sober & cautious Nixon. But the cause of Jack’s election is Joe’s failure. Joe loved his family & America, so he wanted them to be the same. His small-mindedness caused him to think that family reputation can be supplanted by the image of a happy family. Only people, not criminals, may worship successful criminals…
The only story about the Kennedys worth the time.