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why the J.F.K. cult matters — because its myths still shape how we interpret politics today. We confuse charisma with competence, rhetoric with results, celebrity with genuine achievement.
NY Times Source link.
I believe that history will view, if it does not do already, the Kennedy years as the time when modern American politics entered the era of superficiality, glibness, and deception, when Hollywood glamour replaced the virtues of a great Republic in which character, self-restraint, and steadiness were valued more than showmanship, glamour, and style.
The Kennedy family was profoundly troubled. The problem for us is that those troubles entered the nation's political bloodstream and did not remain a private tragedy. Today's continuing denial about the Kennedy reality is just another sign that we have lost our way in discerning what is most important. The glibness and vacuousness of a Clinton and an Obama would not be possible without the pioneering Kennedy role in ushering us to the "new frontier" of the celebrity presidency. The smiles you see in the photo are the ironic symbols of American decline assisted by a very strange family.