Friday, November 22, 2013


I am not known for my enthusiasm for the American presidency, yet have long had a bit of a soft spot (more human than political) for the Kennedys, partly because they demonstrated that even the world's proudest republic cannot entirely resist the enduring appeal of dynastic politics. For musicians, John F. Kennedy is perhaps best remembered as the president who, with his wonderful wife Jacqueline, gave the arts a prestige they have not generally enjoyed in this country before or since. For monarchists, the US constitution is flawed in combining the functions of Head of State and Head of Government in one person. But whatever his shortcomings as Head of Government, surely JFK was as convincing a Head of State as a president can be. And his assassination fifty years ago today made the world an uglier place. May he rest in peace.

Here is a chart
of the monarchs with whom President Kennedy had shared the world stage. Queen Frederika of Greece, King Baudouin of Belgium, and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia led the international mourners at his funeral three days later. In many ways, except for those countries then languishing under Communism (of which he was a staunch foe), the world before the Kennedy assassination was a better place, especially for Greece, Libya, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Laos, Iran, and Nepal.

No comments: