Friday, June 1, 2012

November 22, 2013: Still Not Classy

From 2012 05 Dallas

As usual, Unfair Park's Jim Schutze pretty much nails it. He reports how Dallas has created a committee to plan events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dealey Plaza. In Schutze's telling, the committee is made up of "rich, fancy-pantsy, old people determined to keep a lid on it." Schutze objects to the "money bags" trying to control the conversation.

I have a slightly different angle on the same objection. Schutze quotes Mayor Mike Rawlings as saying, "The objective is to send the simple message to all that are outside the city, throughout the world, that the citizens of Dallas honor the life and legacy of JFK."

After the jump, what's wrong with Rawlings's phrasing.

Shouldn't the objective of the commemoration be simply to "honor the life and legacy of JFK," not to send a message, any message, about what the citizens of Dallas are thinking? It should be about JFK, not Dallas.

If the mayor is representative of the citizens as a whole (and if he isn't, then who is?), then we might infer that the citizens of Dallas care less about JFK than about what people elsewhere think of them. If you're going to be brutally honest, the citizens of Dallas probably don't think much better of JFK today than they did in 1963. It's almost shocking to remember that JFK carried the state of Texas in the 1960 presidential election. Anyone think he could do so again today?

Next year's commemoration should be of JFK and his life and legacy. Period. It should not be about what the citizens of Dallas want people to think about them. Sorry, Mayor. Fifty years on, Dallas is still not classy about this painful national wound.

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