What the JFK assassination meant to the culture
You had to be there. It’s almost unfathomable now, in the age of Trump: The American post-WWII optimism. The Great Expectations.
The baby boom phenomenon was an expression of exuberance. The positivity culminated with the election of John Kennedy in 1960.
But there was an underlying sense of disquiet. The Beats, the juvenile delinquents, the critiques of militarism, poverty, racism, environmental degradation were a sign of diffidence. When JFK was assassinated the negativity surfaced. It has deepened, in waves, ever since. Reagan and Trump had the same slogan: “Make America Great Again.” This reflects the fact that many people are distressed about the growing pessimism. But the crisis that James Howard Kunstler calls The Long Emergency is only getting started.