John Fitzgerald Kennedy had some flaws and made mistakes during his presidency. He perfectly embodied an era of boundless American optimism. He is also referred to by his initials JFK. He was the 35th president of the United States from 1961 till his assassination in 1963. JFK served the United States at the height of the Cold War. On May 29th, the nation honors the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s birth.
Even after 57 years of his death, JFK is widely regarded as one of the best presidents of the United States. The historians feel differently about JFK, but the public ranks him in the top American Leaders. A Gallup poll in 2013 revealed that Americans think that JFK was the greatest president of the post-war era. What are the reasons that he is still so popular among Americans?
Why Is John F. Kennedy Still So Popular?
He did not do much in passing the legislation in the United States. The big civil rights and tax-cut bills were associated with his name that was pushed through the Congress by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was done by Kennedy in real but he did not have much time in the Oval Office while serving the United States as a president but for only a thousand days.
Remembered as A Hero
He is remembered by Americans as a hero because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He resisted the advice of many security officials and destroyed the Soviet Launchers using military force. The approval of the Bay of Pigs invasion by Kennedy was the first mistake of his tenure that might have led Cuban leader Fidel Castro to accept the launchers in the first place.
U.S involvement was also escalated in Vietnam by Kennedy. The U.S. advisers were increased from a few hundred to 16,000, meanwhile opening the political aid and military spigots.
Kennedy the Brand
Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy went in great depths to build an image or brand of Kennedy during his presidency. They tried to hide the reckless womanizing, precarious health, and pain-killer medications effect. When he was assassinated in 1963, the grieving Jackie continued to promote the public image by participating in the details of his funeral, where he would be buried (Arlington National Cemetery) and at the center of the library and the Kennedy museum.
JFK’s wife wanted her husband to be remembered as a family man, war hero, and father. Also, the ideal American was the president of the whole country. Over the years, she fought vigorously to remove the negative impressions and books and to encourage the positives ones only about JFK. She and other members of the Kennedy family were in control of what documents would and would not be disclosed to academics in the library.
Camelot images of his presidency were invented by her wife. It has played a leading role in the preservation, protection, and promotion of JFK’s legacy. Jackie wanted his style and the magic of how he made people feel more remembered than his legislative and other accomplishments.
Comparing JFK With Subsequent Presidents
Another reason for the enduring popularity of Kennedy is based on that followed the Oval Office. Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam albatross made the embittered nation. Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal and his resignation have created skepticism about the government. Somehow, the Kennedy assassination served as a marker for when the innocence and optimism were lost in the early 1960s with Kennedy, anything was possible.
So, when you compare him to the presidents who have followed him, they look attractive. Politicians on both sides of the aisle attempted to claim Kennedy’s claim, relying on his memory and his words. The Conservatives claimed he was Conservative and the Liberals consider him to be one of them.
From History to Memory
In “The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy; A Biography gives details and explains that how and why Kennedy continues to capture the imagination of the public. The book is not about the biography of Kennedy as a man but it is all about his image after his death. It provides the story of Kennedy in American memory, books, trinkets to buildings and monuments honoring the fallen leader, and all of the means that were used by the people to cope with their loss and grief.
While a Kennedy biography deals with his life, this book deals with life after death. Jacqueline Kennedy is at the center of the state to preserve JFK’s legacy. For her, his life had more to do with magic, myth, sage, legend, and his history with political science and theory.
Monuments of Paper and Stone
Jacqueline Kennedy has also strived to integrate the Kennedy brand into American memory. She oversaw the design of the Museum in Boston and Kennedy Library and convinced President Johnson to move forward with the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
The space center reiterated his commitment to the space program and its sense of adventure, its faith in the future, and its belief that no dream was too big, no goal beyond its reach. The performing arts center recalled the support of the president to the arts as a manifestation of freedom of expression in a democratic society.
The Kennedy Library and Museum remind us of his life as a man of letters, his sense of history, and his love of learning. Through these efforts, Jacqueline Kennedy scored the identity of her husband, as it was defined, so deeply in the collective memory of the American people that even the harshest critics could not dislodge it completely.
John F. Kennedy and his wife were younger than other presidents and the first ladies who preceded them. They both were popular in media culture as compared to the pop singers and movie stars being politicians. They were influencing and fashion trending. They were the subject of numerous photos spread in popular magazines because of their fashion trends.
Eisenhower had allowed the presidential press conferences to be used for television. Kennedy was the first president to be broadcasted live for good use of the medium.
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963. It was done on his political trip to smooth the frictions in the Democratic Party between liberals and conservatives. He was traveling in this presidential motorcade through downtown Dallas. One bullet was shot on his back which exit via his throat. Another bullet was shot on his head.
JFK was taken to Parkland Hospital for emergency medical treatment but 30 minutes later, he was pronounced dead. On the day of his assassination, he was 46 years old and had spent only 1,036 days in the office of the presidency. President Johnson issued an executive order to investigate the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As a result, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the assassination of JFK.
In 2004 Fox News Poll stated that 66 percent of the Americans thought that there had been a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, whereas, 74 percent thought that there had been a cover-up. A Gallup Poll in 2013 stated that 61 percent of Americans believed in conspiracy and 30 percent believed that it was done by Oswald alone.
There are plenty of reasons that why is John F. Kennedy still so popular? He became a more polished version after his death. He was an idealized image for Americans with his campaign speeches, news conferences, ubiquitous photographs, and TV specials. One way another, he became an ideal American who is still so popular among Americans.