New Dawn article on the year ahead

For this year’s issue, as for last year’s, New Dawn asked a few people for a few hundred words on the year ahead.  My crystal ball is pretty cloudy, because the guys upstairs taught me a long time ago that we can’t reliably predict the future because there isn’t any “the” future, but a wilderness of possible futures to choose among, any of which, when he choose it, seems the only real present, the others seeming only theoretical.

Recreating society

by Frank DeMarco

As I write this, it is nearly 50 years since John F. Kennedy was murdered. The years since then have served to underline the wisdom of his vision, which has become the path not taken: the rational pursuit of peace and prosperity as a cooperative international endeavor.

Is there something we as individuals do to move our societies back in that direction? More to the point, is there something we need to stop doing?

I think there is. I think that by concentrating on what is bad – and there’s plenty of it — we are inadvertently helping to make things worse.

I recently saw a quote from the Abraham material that reminded us that focusing upon the problems of others actually diminishes our ability to help them, because problems and solutions come from different vibrations. The way to help them is to concentrate on what is right in their lives, rather than adding our energy to what is negative.

What’s true for individuals is true for society. It is the same set of laws, after all. When we complain about the way society is, usually in the name of “how it should be,” we add energy to the negativity, and make things worse. (This very negative practice may come disguised as idealism. Think of liberals and conservatives, attacking pretty nearly any issue from their own perpetual crusading viewpoint, blaming the problem on the actions of others.)

So how do we criticize what’s wrong without adding our energy to it? I think the key is what Carl Jung pointed out long ago: Condemnation always isolates. Only understanding heals. You need to be clear on your priorities. Do you merely want to assess blame, or do you want to heal society? If the former, feel free to point fingers, but don’t delude yourself into thinking you are doing something constructive. If the latter, concentrate on rational analysis, without laying blame on others.

Rational analysis, rather than fear or hatred, was John F. Kennedy’s forte, after all.




Historian Arnold Toynbee, who escaped service in World War I only because he had contracted typhoid fever in Greece before the war began, saw that war kill most of his college contemporaries. Much later, toward the far end of his long life, he wrote that his grief and indignation at the sacrifice of so many million lives had not lessened, but had grown greater, as the years went by. What had been lost grew ever clearer. What had been attained grew ever less. The evil consequences that had followed the useless sacrifice had become ever more plain.

That’s how I feel about the murder of John F. Kennedy.

In the years since his death, his reputation was tarnished by revelations about his sex life, and about his indirect contact with underworld figures, and by revelation about the government’s attempts on the life of Fidel Castro. In addition, what looks like an organized disinformation campaign has spread all manner of rumors about him and his brothers. Even the controversies surrounding various attempts to come to the truth about his assassination have diverted attention from what it was that he actually did, and thought, and said, and wanted to do.

John F. Kennedy gave off the impression of youthful vigor, but the carefully guarded truth was that in all his 46 years, he was never able to count upon normal health in the way that most people can. He was always ill, often critically so. (He received the last rites of his church four times before he was murdered.) It seems likely that he would have died relatively young even had he been allowed a natural death. So it is not because his life was cut short that I still mourn his assassination. As his brother said to his children, “Jack had a wonderful life.”

No, it isn’t so much for him as for the world he was helping to steer toward sanity.

Fifty years have shown how far ahead of public opinion he was, how much more he understood about his times than almost anyone else in a position of power, how much more rational and sane his policies and perspectives were than those which were implemented when he was gone.

After 50 years, I am more than ever overwhelmed by grief at what we lost.


Kennedy’s Vision (4) The Race to the Moon

Did you ever wonder why Kennedy proposed a race to the moon?

Oh, we wanted to win what was called “the space race.” There was worry about the relative prestige of the communist and non-communist worlds. Communist societies had been thought to be hopelessly backward – until the Sputnik satellites of October and November, 1957, and until Lunik became the first vehicle to reach the moon two years later. Did this mean that communism really might be the wave of the future?

But already, by 1962, America’s scientific and technical, industrial and economic resources, had put it far in the lead in terms of missions of scientific value. Yuri Gagarin circled the earth in 1961, nearly a year before John Glenn made his historic three orbits in February, 1962. But we were clearly catching up.

Putting men on the moon by the end of the decade of the 1960s was going to cost a fortune, and the benefits to be gotten from it were speculative. Yet Kennedy made a strategic decision to commit the country to do just that, and he got the Congress to vote the money, back when $5 billion a year was real money.


Continue reading Kennedy’s Vision (4) The Race to the Moon

Kennedy’s Vision (3) The Third World

In the 1950s and 1960s, people divided the world into the industrially developed West, the Communist bloc, and the non-Western countries, including many recently freed European colonies — respectively, the First, Second and Third Worlds. In practice, use of the terms First World and Second World soon disappeared, but Third World persisted until it was replaced by the (inaccurate) term Developing Nations.

Third World nations, except Latin America, had mostly been freed from European control as a result of the two world wars. First the Turkish, then the German, Italian, French, Belgian, and British Empires were freed either as the result of defeat in war, or of economic exhaustion, or of pressure from the American government. In the post-World War II world, these new countries became Cold War pawns. Many Third-World intellectuals flitted with the idea of communism, or at least socialism, as the way to industrial and social development.  Western governments naturally responded with alarm.

Continue reading Kennedy’s Vision (3) The Third World

Kennedy’s Vision (2) The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

John F. Kennedy knew that in his time we stood at a crossroads. He knew where he wanted us to go, and he knew some of the steps to take, and he knew how to lead so that the people would follow.

And then – and therefore – he was murdered, in cold blood, in broad daylight, in front of the crowds that were cheering him, and everything changed.

What didn’t happen can’t be mapped. But if we look at what he said, and did, in his short 34 months in office, we can get a sense of where he wanted us to go, and we can get a sense of how far ahead of nearly everyone else he was, and we can see what his murder cost us, and our children, and their children. And we can see what was saved from the wreckage. For one thing, he saved us all from being poisoned.

The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Continue reading Kennedy’s Vision (2) The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Kennedy’s Vision (1) — Civil Rights

Kennedy’s Vision

It was the worst day in American history. For almost three years, we had had a man with a unique historical perspective, with an independent place to stand,  in a position to make real changes. We stood at the crossroads of two very different paths, and he knew where he wanted to take us, and he knew how to do it, and he knew how to bring the people along with him. And then – and therefore – he was murdered, in cold blood, in broad daylight, in front of the crowds that were cheering him, and everything changed.

I’m not going to write about the fact that he was killed by a conspiracy, nor who the members were, nor their motives. It’s all on the record, for any who want to know. If I pieced it together by long widespread and judicious reading, you can too. Instead on this 50th anniversary of the crime, I want to look at Kennedy’s vision for the United States and for the world, as it can be deduced from his words and actions.

What didn’t happen can’t be mapped. But if you look at what he did in his short time, the man’s course can be plotted., and we can get a sense of what the nation and the world lost as a result of a criminal conspiracy to murder him, followed by another conspiracy to cover up the truth of who was responsible.

Civil Rights

Continue reading Kennedy’s Vision (1) — Civil Rights

Where Do We Find Hope When A Peacemaking President Is Assassinated?

This came to me by way of PEERS. To subscribe to its email list,

Confronting the John F. Kennedy Assassination

Where Do We Find Hope When A Peacemaking President Is Assassinated?

By James W. Douglass, author of acclaimed book JFK and the Unspeakable
I believe this experiment we are doing into the dark truth of Dallas (and of Washington, D.C.) can be the most hopeful experience of our lives. But, it does require patience and tenacity to confront the unspeakable. We, first of all, need to take the time to recognize the sources in our history for what happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Continue reading Where Do We Find Hope When A Peacemaking President Is Assassinated?