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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 17, 1992)
JFK’s dreams still within reach
Wc have all seen the shooting.
It plays out like a Greek
tragedy — we know what is
^PiD^ioJiappcn, but wc^atLda noth-.
ing to slop it. .j
The motorcade approaches — so
slowly. The man is smiling, his wife
in her pink suit. /
Then his arms arc up
around his neck. His
head snaps violently
John F. Kennedy has
just been killed. The
scene is played again,
and you watch again.
This Sunday marks the
anniversary of Kennedy’s death 29
years ago. It should be rainy and cold
— Nov. 22 should always be a dark
What really happened in Dallas is
a mystery. Who really killed Kennedy
is a question we still ask today.
We arc told he was killed by a
lunatic — Lee Harvey Oswald —
with a gun bought through the mail.
We don’t know for sure, because
Oswald was shot and killed two days
What a country wc live in.
Oliver Stone did a lot to inform
people about the Kennedy assassina
tion with his movie “JFK.” We have
all heard about the magic bullet, the
supposed Cl A connections to Oswald
and the grassy knoll.
Because of Stone’s film — even if
he made a lot of it up — people have
taken a renewed interest in what hap
pened to Kennedy. Even people our
age, not even bom when Kennedy
Thanks to Slone, wc know a lot
about how Kennedy was killed on
Nov. 22,1963. But what do wc know
about the man who was sacrificed that
Wc cannot remember, as our par
ents do, where they were when they
heard that Kennedy had been killed.
We cannot know what it was like to
live through his 1,000 days as presi
But from books and documenta
ries, we can know him some. He was
different from the politicians we have
George Bush, our last leader,
summed up his philosophy in three
words: “No new taxes.” We have yet
to see how Bill Clinton, our new
leader, will sum up his.
Kennedy’s message was different.
“I don’t run for the presidency
telling you that if you elect me life is
going to be easy, because I don ’ t th ink
life is going to be easy for Americans
in the next decade,” he said. “But I run
for the presidency because I do not
want it said in the years our generation
held power that those were the ;ycars
when America began to slip.”
Kennedy is gone, but his words
His inauguration speech, calling
Americans to service, still rings true.
His speeches on civil rights and space
exploration still remain as examples
of a leadership based on high expec
tations of the dreams people arc ca
pable of achieving.
To hear those speeches is to be
moved — even 30 years later. The
words once filled people with a sense
that Americans could do anything.
Now we can only imagine what it
was like to live in such times under
Kennedy’s inspirational leadership.
The belief that America can do
anything is hard to find in people
anymore. It was wounded with
Kennedy in Dallas 29 years ago. Al
though it took longer to die, it eventu
ally fell as well.
Now we hear only of fear and
worry about what the future will hold
for us. Our leaders do not ask, and we
do not offer “what we can do for our
A man stands up at a presidential
debate and asks what the candidates
propose to do to take care of him.
So when we observe Kennedy’s
death this Sunday, we grieve for him
and for what he stood for — for a
United States that was largely past
before most of us were bom.
That time is not gone forever. We
can choose.. to get it back. Were
Kennedy alive today, he would be
leading the way.- --—*——
It would be a mistake in remem
bering Kennedy to think that if we
only could recapture our, past — a
time “made simple by the loss of
dctail”as RobertFrostdescribed it—
we could make the present simple as
It would be a mistake to imagine
that if Kennedy were president today,
he could solve our problems easily.
John Kennedy’s years as president
were turbulent and difficult. Today
the Cold War has ended, and we arc
But there was also a sense that the
United States was moving in the
Kennedy years. Our country may not
have been as safe, but we seemed to
have a purpose and a direction.
How large a role Kennedy played
in America’s success then can cer
tainly be debated. But there can be no
doubt that he set a tone of excellence
and service that helped define our
Kennedy liked to quote a Greek
definition of happiness: “The full use
of your powers along the lines of
How different it must have been to
have a leader who both expected and
asked excellence of us. Now our lead
ers ask little, and we arc satisfied with
Probably there will be little fanfare
about Kennedy’s death Sunday.
If we do remember, however, it
shouldn’t be of Zaprudcr films or
assassination theories. It should be
about a man who had no illusions and
still believed government could be a
positive force in people’s lives.
It should be abouta time that passed
with him — a time we could repeal
today if only we would dream again.
Fitzpatrick is a junior political science
major, a sports and news reporter and a
Daily Nebraskan columnist.
All are equal under whose law?
Conservatives have been inces
santly complaining for the last
year about the media’s liberal
bias. Well, in S unday’s Omaha World
Herald, conservatives got a chance to
. experience a little favoritism,
-*— The headline to the
newspaper’s (cad edito
rial was“History Should
Look Kindly on Efforts
to Free Hostages.”
Sorry, but I don’t think
history should or will.
First some history. The
idea behind the Iran ini
tiative was to contact
moderates in Iran—itself not particu
larly easy or realistic — and to try to
open up relations with these factions
by selling them arms.
With these arms sales it was hoped
that the moderates in Iran would some
how be able to influence the groups
holding American hostages to release
some or all of them.
It did not matter that former Presi
dent Reagan maintained that the
United States would not deal with
Part of the problem stemmed di
rectly from the people involved:
Oliver North, William Casey and John
Poindexter to name just a few. The
men were self-avowed ideologues,
totally committed to what they be
lieved regardless of all else. They
were so committed that mere laws
would not stand in their way.
This is the bottom line: Those
involved broke laws, specifically the
ban on sending arms to Iran and later
the Boland amendment, which was
passed by Congress prohibiting the
United States or its representatives
from providing aid to the Contra rebels.
In addition, any timearmsarc trans
ferred, certain key members of Con
gress MUST be advised. This is what
the Constitution called a system of
checks and balances.
The arms shipments to Iran re
mained secret with not one single
mem her of Congress being informed.
This is illegal.
Further, knowing what they were
doing was illegal, the arms were not
shipped directly to Iran but were first
sent to Israel. And not by government
transport. All shipments were handled
by various “marginally” legal trans
port companies owned by the CIA.
There were large amounts of money
involved with this shipment. Don’t
think that the arms were just given to
Iran, they were sold. In fact, they were
sold for far mere than the CIA had
paid for them in the first place.
Someone came up with the great
idea to use this money to circumvent
the Boland amendment. So these prOf
iLs were turned over to various opera
tives, including retired Gen. Richard
When all of this was said and done
and Congress finally got wind of it,
hearings were held to discover just
less hours listening to these hearings
on Public Radio. It seemed obvious
that illegal activities look place and
people were lying about what hap
Now here is where things got con
fusing. Unlike Watergate — another
example of presidents thinking that
laws do not apply to them — there was
no turncoat to break ranks like John
Dean had done.
1 guess they deserve some credit
for taking the harder road. To have the
pressure of prison placed over your
head and not crack or betray your
compatriots is indeed something. Of
course, that is the kind of people they
I have read the autobiographies of
both G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver
North and have come to the conclu
sion that they were very similar. The
similarities arc exactly the things that
caused them, and others, to break the
laws to further their own ends.
This is the crux of the issue.
Docs th<X£nd justify the means?
While there is great philosophical
argument here, I will cut it short and
say that the ends cannot justify the
In this instance the various laws
were in place for a reason. The proper
constitutional procedures were fol
lowed and these laws became the law
of the land.
It is not the law for everyone, but a
certain group of men who thought
they knew better.
I guess I find this whole issue
particularly upsetting because it is the
conservatives who seem to maintain
that the Constitution was written for a
reason and must be interpreted as it
was written. Well 1 thought that the
Constitution said the executive branch
has to follow the law.
The World-Herald editorial notcu
that laws were broken, but said that it
was OK. I can’t help but wonder
whether the World-Herald thought it
was OK for the Nixon administration
to illegally tap government officials,
or if the break-in at the Watergate
complex could be written off because
it served some higher purpose.
Again, do the ends justify the
means? Even in international politics
there must exist some semblance of
order. A nation that thinks as highly of
itself as docs the United States should
never lower itself to the level of other
The World-Herald ended by stal
ing, “To call their efforts a scandal is
a gross misuse of the word.” To legiti
mize illegal governmental activities
is gross mistake.
Heckman is a graduate student in politi
cal science and a Daily Nebraskan columnist.
SEE THE STAFF AT THE UNIVERSITY
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A full-time optometrist is now on hand to provide contact
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Discount on all NEW glasses prescriptions
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Street Address: 3925 Dewey; Omaha, NE 68105 BfcB
VOLUNTEER SPIRIT AWARD
in association with
Office for Student Involvement
General Motors will proudly present an award to
three students from your campus who have
served as volunteers within the campus and the
community. Each award recipient will receive:
• A plaque signed by the col lege/university
president or chancellor and the Chairman
of General Motors
• Five shares of General Motors Corporation
• A ceremony and reception for recipients,
family, and guests
Attention Student Volunteers!
Pick up Your Application for the
GM Volunteer Spirit Award!
Deadline for applications is:
Monday, February 15, 1993
Applications available at:
200 Nebraska Union
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