Saturday, October 28, 2006

Quill Awards Etc.

Al Gore beat Doris Kearns Goodwin so I suppose the topic was simply more urgent despite what skeptics say, but I was drawn to Caroline Kennedy's award related to Profiles in Courage her father's "book." Supposedly he wrote in bed after back surgery in 1955, but this has always been in question. No one doubts his intent and image but as with the numerous women in tow poolside this book, no matter how good and well-intended is not his original work. It was only submitted in his name.

I often fought at the supper table my war hero father with over the Kennedy's. He hated them and this surprised me. It still does. He always claimed "he didn't want a dynasty," something he held fast to all the way up to the Bushes. We agreed on that, but the Kennedy's were always a sore point. You see Jack was the first president we'd seen who till had hair. I had his picture over my bed and we debated his election as kids in Maine. For the record I was for it. The old man wasn't. I'd been in the same White House he occupied when he held the office. MY parents took me there and I remember being on the steps inside the Capitol and Lyndon Johnson swept past us.

"Isn't that the vice-president?" I asked dad.

"Yes," he said.

We went on with our authentic tour. We never saw Kennedy on that visit in 1962, but I wanted to. He didn't. I suspect his affection for Ike, which was war inspired, and with good reason had a lot to do with this. As a war grunt, he didn't suffer fortunate sons it seemed but Kennedy had been injured in battle in the Pacific on PT-109 so I was still puzzled. He seemed to love rich people in general as if he had a chance in hell of joining them much like today's Republican voting working class hopefuls. I didn't get it.

After JFK's untimely death, which he was visibly saddened by on its face, he still held fast to a severe Kennedy prejudice. On a later visit to Arlington National Cemetery which he qualified for internment as a veteran, he called Jack's Memorial and eternal flame, "The Bunsen Burner," as the three of us stood before it. I could barely contain my personal revulsion at his callousness on the matter.

Like Kennedy, he died a Democrat, and finally recognized the work they'd done for those less fortunate than themselves and that was the difference among rich people. It is indeed. I wish there was a handwritten draft of Profiles in Jack's hand but there isn't. Reality is a bitch that way.

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