Anyone alive at the time of the Kennedy assassination remembers where he was when he heard the news. That weekend, there was constant TV coverage, and no other topic made it to radio or the newspapers or into private conversations.
The culmination was the funeral procession to Arlington for President Kennedy’s burial. I can still hear the singular cadence of the muffled drum roll endlessly repeated.
Soon after, the city of Dallas was blamed for the president’s death. Dallas was described as a city of hate. The premise was that Dallas was a hotbed of conservative, rich, white men who were angry that Kennedy had been elected. These men, like Clint Murchison and the Hunt family, were extremists who fomented an anti-Kennedy environment.
Dallas was also home to General Edwin Walker, a segregationist who had expressed his political views in several speeches while still on active duty with the Army. He retired from the Army and moved to Dallas. The left claimed this as confirmation that the city was a hotbed of hate, racism, and extremism. What liberals fail to mention is that when Dallas-based Walker ran as a Democrat for governor, he came in sixth out of six in the primary. John Connally won the nomination and the general election.
The allegations were expanded. Some have argued that it wasn’t just Dallas, but Texas that killed the president. Others have said not Texas, but the South. Later, it was conservative America. Finally, during the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the president’s murder last month, the Washington Post claimed that the Tea Party started in Dallas in 1963.
It is fascinating that Dallas has been singularly picked out by liberals with the city- of-hate label. Los Angeles, where the president’s brother Bobby was killed, was never called a city of hate, nor was Memphis where Dr. King was killed. How about Buffalo, New York where President William McKinley was assassinated? Washington, D.C. where assassins killed both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield and attempted to kill Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman, and others should have earned the hate label on volume alone. Yet Washington, D.C. was never described as a city of hate.
The truth is that cities don’t kill anybody. Unless, of course, that city is Detroit which committed suicide based on decades of liberal governance. On Kennedy’s visit to North Texas in 1963, thousands upon thousands turned out in both Fort Worth and Dallas to catch a glimpse of President and Mrs. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy had carried Texas in the 1960 election as well as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Texas and the South supported Mr. Kennedy’s election, but each was tainted as bearing responsibility for his death.
The assassin, Lee Oswald, was not a part or product of any Dallas group. He was, in fact, a loner. The Warren Commission stated that in its report. He was also an avowed Communist who had defected to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. No one, not anybody, could be further from conservatism on a political scale. That means that conservatives in Dallas could never have produced this assassin. In addition, Oswald not only killed Kennedy in November, 1963, but he had also attempted to kill Edwin Walker the previous April. It appears he didn’t want to advance some ideology as much as he wanted notoriety for himself by killing some prominent person. Still, Dallas, Texas, the South, and conservative America were blamed for the president’s death, then and now.
A wise man, when asked how to refute outrageous allegations, said: “don’t accept the premise of the argument.” Whatever “fact” is argued as the basis of their conclusion should be rejected. The older I get, the more I understand what great advice this man gave. Don’t accept the premise. Exactly.
Dallas is as great a city as it was in 1963. No apologies were needed then, or now, for advocating for small government, reduced spending, a strong defense, or term limits. These activities are protected by Amendment I. It is not automatically unpatriotic or seditious to oppose or disagree with any administration. Remember Hillary Clinton screeching “don’t you dare question my patriotism” for opposing the Iraq War….after she voted to support it? Yet, listen to the outcry when anyone disagrees with the current president’s policies.
Dallas’ conservative roots have changed as have many cities and states. Today, Dallas has elected, and re-elected twice, an openly gay sheriff. Good for them and good for her.
Liberals often make vile statements about conservatives without provocation, unless a conservative’s very existence is provocation enough. That appears to be the case for George W. Bush and Sarah Palin (see Martin Bashir). The left considers war veterans, Tea Partiers, and Evangelicals as potential terrorists, while Muslims are given wide latitude as a religion of peace.
In the 60s, liberals treated conservatives like Goldwater and Reagan as if they were a greater threat to the Republic than the Communists whom those men vehemently opposed. Today, liberals treat conservatives as if they were a greater threat to the nation than Al Qaeda.
It wasn’t the Tea Party that started in Dallas in 1963. What started then and there was a hard left turn.
Bill Hodges is a retired physician who lives in Morgan Mill with his wife of 40 years. He is also a member of the E-T's community columnists.