(Storch Report) — Perhaps no better image romantically or symbolically portrays the wealthy, the privileged and the powerful of the time, albeit short-lived, than that of the Broadway musical, Camelot, and the 1,000 days of Jackie and President John F. Kennedy in the White House that still captivates a nation’s imagination to this day.
It was a symbol for which they wanted to be portrayed, a mythical fairy-tale in which they wanted the world to see themselves as the main characters never allowing facts to get in the way of a good story.
President John F.. Kennedy’s favorite bedtime listening was from Camelot’s original cast recording. His classmate Alan Lerner at Harvard University was the author of the book and the lyrics of the musical. Kennedy’s favorite lines were in the final number (in which Arthur knights a young boy and tells him to pass on the story of Camelot’s goodness to future generations):
Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot,
For one brief, shining moment
That was known as Camelot.
Just four days after her husband’s burial, the widowed mother of two invited Life magazine journalist Theodore H. White to the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.
There, according to People Magazine and reporters Tierney Mcafe and Liz McNeil, Jackie, just 34, crafted a glittering fairy tale about JFK’s 1,000 days in the White House. The inspiration? JFK’s favorite Broadway musical, Camelot – the story of a mythical world, ruled by King Arthur, where goodness reigned supreme. Since then a movie made for TV has been made around the fantasy called, “Jackie.”
According to People, “Don’t let it be forgot, that for one brief, shining moment there was Camelot,” Jackie Kennedy told White, quoting from the musical.
As we can now see, the privileged can even create a fairy tale out of a presidency that was anything but and have a nation believe what never took place.
Kennedy was the president that executed the failed Cuban coup called the, ‘Bay of Pigs,’ an attempt to take over the Communist government of dictator Fidel Castro and subsequently brought the nation to the closest its been to nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis, where Russian missiles were being placed in the hills of Cuba, just 90 miles off US shores.
They were not moments of shining goodness of the Kennedy administration.
However, there were moments of alleged salacious behavior that the media didn’t talk about then, nor did King Arthur, JFK allegedly bedded Hollywood movie starlets and even molls of Chicago mobsters.
There was a foundation for all of this, Joe Kennedy, the patriarch of the Kennedy clan who was allegedly much the same and made his money bootlegging booze during the prohibition; finagled himself into political circles and found himself an Ambassador to the United Kingdom, then aligning himself with Nevile Chamberlain and his diplomatic efforts to find peace with Hitler. Joe quickly found himself on a slow boat back to the US.
Joe Sr. had his eyes on the presidency for his oldest son Joe, who was a pilot in WWII, but he was killed in the war. The heir to the presidency then fell to Jack, in Joe’s mind, who was commanding a PT boat in the Pacific.
Jack wasn’t a very good sailor and apparently sailed his boat across the bow of a Japanese ship splitting it in two. Joe had his Hollywood hacks spin a movie out of Jack’s disaster, in which he injured his back, called the movie PT 109 making JFK a hero and a future president of the US.
Not only can the privileged make presidents out of son’s; they can keep them out of prison when committing manslaughter as was the case with Sen. Ted Kennedy.
It was on July 18, 1969 when Senator Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his car off the one-lane bridge and into a tidal channel with a 28-year-old passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. He swam free, left the scene, and did not report the accident to the police for 10 hours; Kopechne drowned inside the fully submerged car.
The incident followed a party hosted on the island at the cottage of Sidney Lawrence, a reunion for a group of six single women including Kopechne, by Sen Kennedy. The group, known as the Boiler Room Girls, had served on Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign, at which Kennedy was assassinated.
During the inquest into Kopechne’s death, Kennedy testified that he left the party at around 11:15 pm. Kopechne told him “that she was desirous of leaving, if he would be kind enough to drop her back at her hotel.”
Sen. Kennedy requested the keys to his mother’s car from his chauffeur. Later asked why he didn’t have his chauffeur drive them both, Kennedy explained that the chauffeur and some other guests were concluding their meal.
Kopechne told no one that she was leaving with Kennedy, and left her purse and hotel key at the party.
Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury, and later received a two month suspended jail sentence.
The Chappaquiddick incident became a national scandal, and likely influenced Kennedy’s decision to not campaign for President in 1972 and 1976.
Authorities did find “probable cause” that Kennedy had committed a crime and could have issued a warrant for his arrest, but did not do so. Authorities also chose not to prosecute Kennedy for manslaughter.
The Kopechne family did not bring any legal action against Kennedy but did receive a payment of $90,904 from him personally and $50,000 from his insurance company.
Let it not be said the privileged are not treated differently than anyone else, whether it be in the days of Camelot and the Kennedy’s or in the days of Whitewater and the Clinton’s, the facts tell the true story, while the spin of perception tell the fairy tales some select to believe.