Monday, May 29, 2017

EXTRA: How time passes

Some of us always want to think of the presidency of John F. Kennedy as a moment of youth and vigor being shot into our national psyche (while others want to think of it as the moment the “grown-ups” lost control).
White House and Chicago pols intertwined in the past

So what should we think of the fact that Kennedy, if he somehow magically were still alive, would now be 100?

IT WAS ON this date a century ago that Kennedy was born in Boston (he was 46 at the time of his death). We’re probably never going to come to a consensus as to how he should be regarded.
Chicago turned out vote for JFK

And we likely will forevermore dispute the significance Chicago and its electorate played in his 1960 ascension to the White House. Or just how much in debt the Kennedys were to Mayor Richard J. Daley in turning out the vote that put Illinois in his Electoral College column that led to victory?

Although the part that most astounds me over the idea of a centenarian Kennedy is that it means his “first lady,” Jacqueline (whom we perpetually envision in her youthful form) would herself now be 87!

Of course, that’s not the only “anniversary” we could be acknowledging this day. There’s always the labor dispute that got ugly in the South Deering neighborhood on Memorial Day eighty years ago.

ANYBODY WHO THINKS that the Chicago police conduct of the 1968 Democratic Convention protests was an isolated incident doesn’t know of the protest that turned ugly when Republic Steel officials called the police – who then came in, began beating picketers and wound up killing 10 men (all of whom were local residents who worked at the plant).
A leftover structure from the old Republic Steel plant

It’s no wonder that neighborhood residents still pay an annual tribute to those who died. And the fact that Daley himself always tried to justify the police conduct of ’68 by saying no one was killed as a result.

Just one discrepancy, for those who want to nitpick.

The actual date of Memorial Day back in ’37 was May 30. So it will be 80 years ago Tuesday that people lost their lives at a now-remote site along Avenue O.


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