James W. Douglass writes: “In the fall of 1963, Kennedy, like Krushev, had been given new glasses.” Unfortunately the cataracts obscuring our vision today might leave readers wondering what it was those glasses saw. Douglass’s book, JFK and The Unspeakable, although a worthwhile read, doesn’t really answer that question. I will list below a few of the circumstances of global politics happening at that time which Douglass neglected to mention.
JFK’s tenure as the only U.S. Catholic president occured amidst many global wars of influence: The Vatican II revolution, both Kennedy and Krushchev’s distrust of Israel, a coalition among U.S. protestants and Jews to bust up inner city catholic neighborhoods, and a Cold War. As Catholic monk Thomas Merton wrote: “He (JFK) had been marked for assassination.” Clearly if he was going to die he’d make us all forever remember.
From the infamous executive order 11110 targeting the central bank, to pressing for AIPAC to register as a foreign agent, to signing the Test Ban treaty, to selling the Soviet Union grain, Kennedy had absolutely zero fear of the Unspeakable—death. His own words reflected this: “If God wants me I’m ready to die.” As this book clearly portrays both a WWII veteran and Catholic militant it’s appropriate to end this from a bird’s eye view:
“With fear and trembling work out your own salvation.”