The following is an editorial.
This past week marked the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy taking the oath of office to become the 35th President of the United States.
I have waited until now to post anything about the anniversary because frankly, I did not know what to say at first. I possess no negative thoughts about the man, but most of his life was lived before I was even born and I was but a wee infant during the last year and a half of his life.
It's easy to look back upon his life and times with awe. The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the growing conflict in Viet Nam, the Peace Corps, the dream that became realized with the first human beings setting foot upon the surface of the moon.
So instead, I ask "What if?"
What if Kennedy was never assassinated? If such a dastardly deed was even still attempted in this dream scenario, it's nice to think that all the culprits would have been discovered and the conspiracy (if any) would be revealed.
But what if Kennedy not only finished serving his first term in office, but successfully won reelection for a second, making him President until whoever succeeded him took office in January 1969?
When would the Civil Rights issue have been resolved? It was definitely something Kennedy was concerned about, but never got to completely address himself.
Would America still have entered the Viet Nam war? Kennedy was hoping to find a peaceful solution to the situation in the early 1960s. Would he have succeeded?
Who would have been sworn in as the 36th President of the United States come January 1969? Would then Vice-President Lyndon Johnson have run? Would Kennedy's brother Robert still have sought that office in 1968? Or would Richard Nixon (or someone else) have ran and won?
Whatever the answer in this alternative history, John F. Kennedy still would not have been President when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon later that year, but he definitely would have been amongst the loudest cheering them on.
And what would Kennedy have done with his life after leaving office?
One can only wonder.
Obviously, events since November 22, 1963 definitely would have been vastly different under this scenario.
But in the end, sadly, all we can ask is "What if?"