The day we lost our innocence

March 19, 2024

innocence

We were all young like this once… our faces reflecting the innocence common to all children. What I wouldn’t give for some of that now.

Watching JFK: One Day in America on Nat Geo, I was mesmerized.

Not the by the story, itself. We all know the basics. But by the way we were.

By our innocence.

The grainy black and white footage revealed…

…people who were both shocked and grieved by the assassination of JFK. Huddled around a car radio on the street, a group heard for the first time that the president had died. One woman started in shock so badly she nearly fell over. Others held ungainly transistor radios to their ears and cried.

This was in fact a day and time when things like this could shock us. When we actually had national grief that wasn’t about waving our big male appendage around in dominance. When regardless of our party affiliation, we could mourn the loss of a president. When our actions and thoughts were marked by our innocence.

It wouldn’t be like that, today.

We are no longer shocked by things like this. We no longer feel collective grief. What I could see is the storm of social media posts that said the death was deserved. Responses would be lined up along party lines.

I’m going to eliminate drumpf from my analysis because it would be really hard to grieve someone who wants to do so much harm to the country. I hope he’s an anomaly. But I can’t see our country united in grief for him. In my world, there would be collective relief, not grief.

The film showed everything. I could see the shock and confusion on people’s faces. The world as they knew it had upended and what would this mean?

We wouldn’t know the answer to that for 60 years.

Then it would be come clear that was the beginning of the wheels coming off our society.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that JFK was hardly a god. It’s largely believed that his father, a corrupt SOB, bought that election. He was definitely a cheating husband. He was also a devoted father, as the family films showed all too poignantly. And an inspirational figure of youth and energy around which many in the country could rally.  The background facts? They hardly mattered back then.

The Warren Commission came out with its report that the assassin and HIS assassin acted alone. No one believes it. There are lots of theories about who was behind it but no one believes the official story.

What could we really do about it, anyway?

Subterfuge has always been part of politics. Look how they hid Roosevelt’s wheelchair from us for four terms? But that was a minor lie. His disability had nothing to do with his ability to lead. It was just an uncomfortable fact in those days.

The truth behind JFK’s death was likely much more than just an uncomfortable truth. Back then, everything was sub-rosa, with a veneer of civility. A pretense. We’ll never know what was really behind the assassination. Or whom.

Another big lie that comes to mind is Sept. 11. Yes, yes, something happened. But few thinking people believe that out of millions of pieces of paper strewn all over Manhattan that day, they just happened to find a few hijacker passports completely intact.

We’ll never know what really happened but many find the official story hard to swallow. Those people, who look at the event with a logical eye, are called conspiracy theorists. But they’re actually just realists.

Sometimes it feels like things have started to go downhill in our society. That we’ve lost our innocence all of a sudden. But the truth is that the wheels have been coming off our society for decades.

We’re just now starting to pay the price.

7 comments on “The day we lost our innocence
  1. Abbas Abdulmalik says:

    No, Carol, no. Relief at the assassination of President Trump? No matter how one feels about him, there should be grief about such things. You might want to go back and rethink that one. I guess that verifies the point of your essay: a confession of your own loss of innocence.

    I agree that we’re not anywhere near the same now as we were then. But do you remember the stunned silence we felt the days after 9/11? Drivers didn’t even honk their horns as they normally would. That was a kind of grief.

    But, alas, you are correct that we are cold and cynical nowadays, and getting colder.
    Personally, I myself have come to doubt everything. I believe there were state actors involved with JFK, MLK, 9/11 … all of it.

    Maybe we’re not losing our innocence so much as we are growing up and seeing the truth of things. But I think we still have the ability to grieve.

    • Sure, in an ideal world we would grieve. But those who feel he is leading us down a path destructive to our democracy and to all America has stood for may feel differently. They may feel relief.

      I don’t need to rethink what I observe. And notice I am not talking about myself but about what I see. Reread this: “We are no longer shocked by things like this. We no longer feel collective grief. What I could see is the storm of social media posts that said the death was deserved. Responses would be lined up along party lines.
      I’m going to eliminate drumpf from my analysis because it would be really hard to grieve someone who wants to do so much harm to the country. I hope he’s an anomaly. But I can’t see our country united in grief for him. In my world, there would be collective relief, not grief.”

      I also think state actors were at work in all those things. I don’t believe much. But my dismay is at the number of people who can not critically think.
      and that so many believed they could storm the Capitol and kill electeds. Then after, could reinvent that story so it wasn’t so bad, after all. There is massive delusion afoot
      and there are state actors behind that. Maybe not our own. It’s a mess that we’re leaving the following generations. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this discussion.

  2. Laurie Stone says:

    I have mixed feelings about Kennedy. Compared to who is running today (you know who), he was like Socrates in wisdom. Still, he always had that cat-that-just-swallowed-the-canary-look, probably from all his philandering.

  3. Alana says:

    So much was hidden in those days. And still is. I could understand Roosevelt hiding his disability-he never would have been accepted as Presidential material. There is a lot of hidden history in our country – race riots and massacres, Indigenous people forced to undergo a “last arrow” ceremony (I didn’t even know about that until recently), and forced sterilization of people with epilepsy. If we knew it all we would be horrified – or maybe not. Maybe we just wouldn’t believe it. No wonder there are many who just want to stop teaching these facts all together.

  4. I just saw a documentary about Ethel Kennedy directed by her daughter Rory. She was and still is an amazing woman. And, it really delves into RFK’s compassion and his love for family. I don’t think he would be pleased Jr., though.LOL.
    And no, I would not grieve for drumph. I would celebrate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Follow Carol

Welcome!

Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.

 

I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?

Archives

Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.