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John Fitzgerald Kennedy
JohnKennedy
President Kennedy
Born: May 29, 1917
Brookline, Massachusetts
Murdered: November 22, 1963 (aged 46)
Dallas, Texas
Political party Democratic party
Religion Irish Catholic
35th President of the United States January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963

"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."- January 20, 1961

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the greatest United States President and has since become a liberal icon. He can be considered the liberal counter-part of Ronald Reagan when it comes to how much he is loved by his party. Besides Obama, he was the only president who wasn't a WASP (though he was white, he was Irish-American and he wasn't a Protestant, but a Catholic). He made the early 1960s a period of infinite hope and progress. Kennedy is best remembered for his determined stand against nuclear bases in Cuba, his support of civil rights for blacks, and his successful call for a human mission to the moon by the end of the 1960s. JFK enacted Civil rights laws, saved the world from a nuclear war and many other generous actions. He is featured on the US 50-cent coin ($0.50)

President Kennedy is one of the most beloved Presidents of American history. He was young and charismatic after so many years of America being run by tired old men. He embodied the hopeful future of America. Resilient and clever, his dream was America's dream. But his sudden tragic end put an end to that...

Sadly, he was brutally murdered by Communist sympathizer Lee Harvey Oswald, a pathetic lone gunman wanting his make his mark on history.

1960 election

While incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon was busy securing the Republican nomination, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy was busy securing the Democratic nomination. He was young, inexperienced and was practically unknown. He faced competition from veteran Senator, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey. Eventually, Humphrey recognized what he was facing. He called himself a "corner-drug store" facing a chain market. Desperate, Humphrey attacked Kennedy as a Catholic, which might have worked if it was a Republican Primary, during a time where there was a very strong anti-Catholic sentiment.

One great advantage Kennedy had was his family wealth. Rich from his bootlegging days during Prohibition,[1] his father Joseph had also been FDR's ambassador to Britain. JFK's glamorous wife Jacqueline initially campaigned with him, but after she discovered she was pregnant, she had to be sidelined due to her previous troublesome pregnancies.

Famous singer Frank Santra sang a special version "High Hopes" in support of Kennedy in the Wisconsin primary. Kennedy later laughed "It's never been sung like that before."

During the first ever televised Presidential debate, Nixon arrived at the debate nervous and looking like he just got out of bed while Kennedy looked good. While Kennedy disappeared to get makeup applied, Nixon had an assistant go to a drug store to buy him some after-shave.[2] Kennedy looked young, rested and calm. Nixon looked disheveled, awkward and nervous. After Kennedy made his opening argument, saying he wasn't satisfied with America's progress, Nixon said he basically agreed with what Kennedy said he wanted for America but disagreed that the Eisenhower administration had gone slow or nowhere.

Those who watched the debates on television sided with Kennedy while radio listeners sided with Nixon. There were three more debates but many say the first debate decided the election.

Helping poor people

Kennedy was keen to help the American poor people as well as poor people in the Third World. He pledged to work at ending poverty and misery in his inaugural speech.

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required – not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
--Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961 [3]

Kennedy himself was one of the few who are rich, he introduced food stamps and tried to introduce limited Medicare. Also, because he was wealthy, he donated his Presidential salary to charity. [3] It was left to Kennedy's successor, LBJ to get the first Medicare started. [4] Would Kennedy have done more given time? Possibly, but he was killed before he could do very much.

Brief life history

He was in the Navy (saving a bunch of people in WWII and incurring a back injury that'd force him to wear a brace for the rest of his life, which would cost him his life), slept with Marilyn Monroe, stopped Cuba from getting Nuclear Bombs, and set the national priority to getting to the moon. A huge aircraft carrier was named after him.

Kennedy's Greatness

His Connections to those around him

Kennedy's family was Rich, and unfortunately Kennedy was keener on Tax cuts for the rich, back when the top tax rate was 91%, than modern Democrats are when the top tax rate is 37% (Kennedy proposed lowering the top marginal rate to 65%, but the proposal wasn't accepted until after his death[5]). [6] Despite this Kennedy did many good things and was more progressive than others of his time. In the mid 20th Century Kennedy was probably as liberal as any presidential candidate could be if he hoped to win the election. George McGovern and Walter Mondale were both more liberal than Kennedy but neither was elected.

Ending the wage gap

In June 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This law illegalized paying women less than men because of gender. Thus the wage gap doesn't exist (except as an earnings gap).

Saving The World

President Kennedy saved the world from nuclear war and annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In October of 1962, the US became aware that the Soviet Union had been placing nuclear strategic missiles on the island-nation of Cuba, which had fallen to communism in 1959 under Fidel Castro. This played nuclear weapons pointed at them 90 miles off the coast of Florida. Only Seattle was out of range of the missiles. This could not be tolerated.

Everyone, including Kennedy's own brother, wanted the President to using the military to knock out the missiles. But Kennedy was cool-headed and sought diplomacy, and also knew that there were missiles that couldn't be seen from aerial photographs. The tensions became hotter when a U2 pilot was shot down and killed. While Lyndon Johnson or any Republican would've initiated a war, Kennedy held his ground on diplomacy. While avoiding using the term "blockade", he initiated a blockade of Cuba (he called it a quarantine to not provoke war) and pressured the Soviet Union to withdraw the missiles from Cuba (along with a secret deal to remove old American nukes from Turkey, which America had intended to do anyway).

For 13 days, the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. Where everyone sought war, Kennedy found peace. Kennedy saved the world from nuclear destruction.

What if he wasn't Assassinated?

There are many speculations and theories as to how the country would have panned out has JFK not been assassinated.

Kennedy would have easily been reelected in the 1964 U.S. Presidential Election and would have finished his two-term presidency. No one doubts Kennedy would've defeated Goldwater with his pro-nuclear attitude toward Vietnam.

Kennedy was beloved by people on both sides of the political spectrum, while the hatred was mutual as well.

It is most certain that the situation in Vietnam wouldn't have been escalated as it did under Johnson. Kennedy had actually asked his top advisers for all possibilities on how to handle Vietnam including a way to pull out. If Kennedy pulled out of Vietnam, he most likely would've waited until after he won re-election in 1964. While thousands had been dead by the time Johnson left office, only 82 Americans had been killed by September 1963.

While Kennedy never wanted to get into Vietnam. But he wasn't a pushover. Kennedy was hard-line anti-communist hero but was grounded in reality. He knew using the military didn't always result in American victory. Kennedy didn't trust his military advisers after the Bay of Pigs and went against their advice, as what happened in Laos and Cuba.

The Civil Rights Act most likely would've taken a hit if Kennedy had lived, or at least had to wait until after the 1964 election. The reason the Civil Rights Act was able to be passed in 1964 was because Johnson was a Southern Democrat and Southern Democrats were more willing to support legislation by a Southern President rather than a Northerner like Kennedy. Because of this, the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1972 Title IX would've arrived later. They would've occurred eitherway, but because Kennedy didn't have the influence Johnson did, they would've taken a step back.

While he would've passed many of the laws passed under Johnson, Kennedy would've had a harder time getting Congress to support him. Kennedy's relationship with Congress was rough to begin with. He didn't relate to the aging Congressmen, who didn't trust the young president. Kennedy probably would have had Vice President Johnson use his famous "Johnson treatment" (standing over to convince or straight up intimidate) and LBJ's influence to get enough congressman to support the legislation. This assuming Kennedy kept Johnson on the ticket for 1964.

John F. Kennedy lived with Addison's Disease, a rare condition affecting 1 out of 100,000 people. Because of this, many speculate he would have died sometime during the 1980s. However, a normal lifespan can be reached if patients take their prescribed medication [7]. Assuming he lived to at least the average age of 78 years old, his death would have been no earlier than 1995. He definitely would have served as a big influence for many activists, especially in the Civil Rights Movement.

See also

References

  1. Widely believed, and heavily promoted by Republicans, this remains unproven, and is probably another Republican Conspiracy theory
  2. Actually a drugstore product called Lazy Shave. https://www.inquirer.com/philly/blogs/healthcare/Medical-Mystery-In-TV-debate-Nixon-looked-nervous.html
  3. John F. Kennedy
  4. Medicare Turns 48
  5. Revenue Act of 1964
  6. [1]
  7. [2]

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