My wife and I visited Boston last week. We discovered that visiting the place resulted in revisiting events in our personal and collective psyches.
Visiting with our old friends Henrietta and Don rekindled our passionate love for exploring the landscape of current social drama and politics, Martin Scorsese’s movie Silence, John Oliver’s commentaries, etc. Unlike the midwesterner’s comment in Alexandra Pelosi’s Journeys with George, who said, paraphrasing, “we all get along just fine because we all hate the same things“, we get along because we love the same things, e.g., our country and way of life.
Visiting the JFK library and museum transported us to another time that remains indelibly etched in our psyches. To know it, we only need be reminded of it. I remember it as the realization that anything is possible. Camelot.
I also remember the dark passages of that time. The Cuban missile crisis. I remarked to a woman next to me as we saw a recap of that October of 1962. I commented, “I thought we were all going to die”. She replied “We all thought we were going to die”.
It evoked the murder of the President. The darkest day in living memory.
It evokes the contrast between a time when a politician loved his constituents and the present where many politicians cynically express abject hatred and contmept for them.
Kennedy remains the smiling young champion of justice and human rights. That can never be tarnished. Those who disparage him and his legacy only tarnish themselves.
Little was accomplished directly during his presidency. It was too short. He did get the ball rolling. Many years ago we visited the LBJ library in Austin, Texas. What we saw there was astonishing. The body of Johnson’s legislative accomplishments is enormous. Human rights, social justice, voting rights and environmental protections owe their existence to this one man. It seemed that he was all about fulfilling Kennedy’s dreams. Successfully.
Edward M Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
We visited the institute, which shares the same grounds as the Kennedy library. We were introduced to the history and the functioning of the Senate. We participated in a mock debate in a replica of the senate chamber. Very interesting.
See Institute images
The Freedom Trail
Boston seems to be unique in its long history as an American city. It appears to be the real cradle of the American experience. The Freedom Trail is a well marked path that winds throughout the city which visits many of the historic landmarks that led to what is now the United States. Walking that path is a moving experience. I was again transported to a time when events reflected the greatness of people who rose up against tyranny and formed a common purpose to eradicate injustice for all time. Their call to unite is still irresistible. I can see how this moves Bostonians to identify as patriots of a righteous cause with pride and defiance. Even the Red Sox seems to be something more than just a baseball team. It’s an identity of unity.
This creates a sharp contrast with the current state of affairs in our nation where members of one group of people with enormous power are lukewarm at best to the unity of the nation and who would willingly let go of the American legacy for short term political gain and personal wealth.