¶ … culture of hatred and paranoia that currently flourishes in the United States has been festering for generations. As Minutaglio & Davis (2013) show in Dallas 1963, the tenor of political discourse had become thoroughly irrational and beyond comprehension. The Kennedy assassination in many ways epitomizes the culture of Dallas and its compatriot regions throughout right-wing America. Racism and bigotries of all types were supported openly, just as they are today and especially in light of there being a black President. A strange and hypocritical brand of hyper-patriotism also swept through the streets of Dallas in the 1960s. Rather than propose constructive solutions or add to intelligent political discourse, the antagonists in Dallas chose what can only be called a bellicose course of action in which violence is the consequence.
Minutaglio & Davis open the narrative prior to the election of Kennedy to provide some background and historical and cultural context. Already, the people of Dallas had grown suspicious of Washington. They had been so for more than a hundred years, when they tried to frame slavery as a states' rights issue rather than a human rights issue. When Washington interfered with their profane way of life, the people of the New South rallied behind their own local political and religious leaders and thereby distanced themselves from Washington in meaningful ways. Washington became like an enemy, but the most grievous enemy from Dallas's perspective was the liberal northeast and the culture that the Kennedy family represented. These were the "pinkos," the communist sympathizers who wanted to tear apart the nation through...
This is why, as Minutaglio & Davis point out, the biggest leaders in the Dallas hate movement accused not only Kennedy but also Truman, Eisenhower, and Roosevelt of being Communist tools. Just as terrorism is the catchphrase du jour, used to label anyone deemed deviant from fundamentalist norms, back in the 1960s that catchword was communism. The details have changed but the overall propaganda methodology remains the same.
Clinging to state sovereignty over national harmony or national security trumped any attempt to focus on common solutions and shared goals. The authors show how the leaders in Dallas were keenly interested in forging their own subculture that was defined by its opposition to Washington. Dallas perceived itself as having a superior culture to the parts of the nation and especially where Kennedy had come from, and certainly viewed itself as being superior to non-white, non-Protestant cultures. Blacks and Jews were the easy targets of hatred, and hate crimes were perpetrated on both communities. This is why Holocaust survivors and the survivors of Jim Crow should have bound together with even more fervency during this heated time in American history. Both were victims of rabid but socially sanctioned hate crimes. As it was, staying alive became a good enough goal for the oppressed and subjugated.
Dallas during the 1960s represented what the authors call a "rogue nation," which tried to push its boundaries and succeeded on many levels. The assassination of Kennedy was one means by which the New South could affirm its power. The rogue nation was also one that distanced itself from the intelligentsia while using the religious pulpit as the primary means by which to disseminate political propaganda (p. 10). Ironically, crooks tended to be attracted to Dallas because of the way money and unfettered capitalism flourished there. Most of the dangerous figures depicted in Dallas 1963 were religious or charismatic leaders who abused their power in order to brainwash a large swath of the community. These leaders, like Reverend Criswell and Major Edwin Walker, and talk show hosts like Hunt, all garnered tremendous followings of like-minded people who responded to vibrations of fear and…
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