Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rant #579: Jackie Oh!

I am sure that you heard that several revelations have come out of the 1963 tapes made of an interview with Jackie Kennedy.

Her husband's death was still fresh when these tapes were recorded, and the former First Lady said some things that nearly 48 years later are stirring up a hornet's nest of trouble--and explanations by the only surviving member of her immediate family, her daughter Caroline.

One of the most glaring quotes was about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Jackie said she couldn’t look at a picture of him “without thinking … that man’s terrible," but later came to admire the civil rights leader.

According to news reports on the soon to be released tapes, Kennedy called King a “phony” and “tricky” during the taped interview with the historian Arthur Schlesinger. She said on the tapes that King had made derogatory remarks about her husband’s funeral and about Cardinal Cushing, who celebrated Mass at the event.

“He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said that he was drunk at it [the funeral],” Kennedy said. “And things about they almost dropped the coffin. I just can’t see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, that man’s terrible."

In addition, the tapes reportedly have Kennedy saying that King had arranged for an “orgy in the hotel” while in town for the March on Washington in August 1963.

Kennedy said that her husband, President John F. Kennedy, had urged her not to be judgmental about it.

Doing damage control, daughter Caroline has said that her mother "admired King tremendously."

Caroline Kennedy said that FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover--who, in another revelation on the tapes, was held in great disdain by Jackie--"had passed on something that Martin Luther King said about my father’s funeral, to Uncle Bobby and to Mommy. And obviously, she was upset about that. ...It shows you the poisonous … activities of J. Edgar Hoover.”

Jackie Kennedy later became friendly with King and his family and attended the civil rights leader’s funeral in 1968.

But what can you make of her comments, all these years later?

The interview took place just a few weeks after her husband was assassinated. The hurt and pain were still fresh in her mind. Remember, we lost a President, but she lost a husband.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a human being. He had his faults. Not everyone liked him.

To this day, you will find some people who believe all the hubbub about him and his life is nothing but hooey.

Maybe because it was about rumors that were passed to her, but at this moment in her life, Jackie didn't think much of King.

But time heals all wounds, to a certain degree.

I think as Kennedy distanced herself from the horrible episode of November 1963 and looked ahead at her life and the world she was living in, she grew to admire King.

So all the nonsense about her words that were recorded right after her husband died must be put into the proper perspective. She was told some information that may or may not have been true, and since the hurt was fresh, she did what most of us would do, look at the negative.

That's all there is to say about it.

And all of those people who are now scratching their heads and wondering where she was coming from with her remarks should pipe down a bit.

Remember, this is America. You can supposedly say what you want without getting raked over the coals.

Give both her, and King, the proper respect they are due, and stop making her remarks sound like her own personal Waterloo.

Let them both rest in peace.

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