Every Dutch person who was born before 1950 still remembers what he was doing and where he was when he heard of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Except for the North-Koreans and for the single drunk Bushman, this is indeed true for every citizen of the world who was 13 years of age or older at the time.
As for me, on that November day in 1963 as I was leaving the movie theater “Lido” in Leiden–where with my friend Alexander Heldring I had watched a French movie with Sylvie Vartan– a young person screamed:
“Kennedy is dead!”
“What a bad joke,” I thought.
Five years later, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy followed, a few months apart from each other. The latter occurred on the day that the brother of the president had won the Democratic primary in California.
No wonder that in the circles around Barack Obama, but also among the journalists, the thought regularly comes up: is the Illinois senator adequately protected or are there deficiencies in his security? It is a thought that one does not readily expresses and even less readily writes about. This reservation stems from some kind of superstitious fear that it may invite such a misfortune for Obama.
This means that everyone, the candidate foremost, has to “act like the weather is nice” while at the same time everyone is well aware of the chances for a thunderstorm.
The New York Times reported that two sisters in Colorado pray every day for the safety of Obama. In New Mexico, a daughter convinced her mother to still vote for Obama in spite of her fear that winning could be extremely dangerous for him.
Obama has enjoyed Secret Service protection since 2007. This service, which must primarily guard the president, has given Obama the name “Renegade.” As more people attend his gatherings, the number of agents who guard him grows. Now and then, it seems as if he is being better protected than President George W. Bush.
Charismatic politicians in America always summon great opposition. So much that malignant forces consider it a solemn duty to extinguish “the ignited light”, if necessary by murder. It is a diabolical dialectic.
Kennedy, after all, was not as great a president as many think. But he certainly was charismatic.
A century earlier, Abraham Lincoln without a doubt spoke to the imagination. He is regarded by most scholars as the greatest president ever.
While Washington was awash with the sounds of revelry because of the Civil War victory, Lincoln was shot to death on April 11, 1862, by a well-known actor who could not accept the victory by those from the North.
Disappointed job seekers
Of the four presidents who died at the hands of assassins, two were not charismatic at all. James Garfield was, after a presidency of only a few months, shot by a disappointed job seeker on July 2, 1881. On September 6, 1901, William McKinley met the same fate in Buffalo.
Last week Barack Obama, campaigning in Texas, drove in his motorcade in Dallas by the spot where Lee Harvey Oswald 45 years ago (Obama was then one year old) had fired the fatal shot.
The senator had briefly looked upward toward the Texas Book Depository. Every member of his entourage, and for sure Obama, was aware of the significance of the moment. But no one said a word.