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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 10, 2010 8:26 AM. The previous post in this blog was Police brutality much more genteel in Seattle. The next post in this blog is Sedan delivery. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Monday, May 10, 2010

When that senator with all the hair came to town

This coming weekend marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's visit to Oregon as a candidate for President in the Democratic Party primary. He spoke at the University of Portland, and in the Dalles and Eugene as well, on a visit that lasted two or three days.

An archive of his speeches shows the following:

Young People for Kennedy Rally, Portland, Oregon. "The Presidency." May 15, 1960.

The Dalles, Oregon. "The Oregon Presidential Primary." May 15, 1960.

Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon. "Defense." May 16, 1960.

Hillsboro High School, Portland, Oregon. "The President's Responsibility in Foreign Affairs." May 17, 1960.

Weyerhauser Lumber Company, Eugene, Oregon. "Labor Reform." May 17, 1960.

He also showed up at opening day of the Riverside Little League, at its new field up near the Columbia off NE 33rd. JFK threw out the first ball and wowed the kids (especially the teenaged sisters) and their parents. The little league, in which our daughters play, is still there, and it will be holding a special shindig on Saturday to mark the occasion.

Kennedy had been through this way less than a month earlier, with stops in South Eugene, at Milwaukie High School, at a North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, and somewhere in Portland for an address on Social Security. It seems that our part of the country was very much on his radar screen. And he'd be back out this way in September of that year as well, campaigning against Tricky Dick.

Comments (13)

The disturbing trend in politics and the sparse field of viable candidates in the present races caused my thoughts this morning to land on memories of Senator Wayne Morse, a little remembered local hero. I met him in 1968 as he was running for the last time. He was replaced by a manure spreader salesman who then became the role model for local politics. I don't agree with some of Wayne's politics, he leaned hard towards FDR, but I can stand with anyone who holds fast to their integrity and appreciates sound reasoning. Wayne did. He held the longest filibuster in Senate history. He was the lone voice against (one other stood quietly with him) The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Smilin' Bob took his seat on the basis of Wayne's tendency toward his conspiracy theory. Wayne was getting old, wasn't patriotic enough and was going on about an investigation into what we all know (a consensus of experts supported) to be facts surrounding the need to bomb the h#$$ out of rice paddies. It had nothing to do with oil or the military / corporate machine that Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address. Eventually Sylvester Stallone won that war and we all waved out flags and felt patriotic.

Like Wayne, I was a lifelong Republican, George Bush showed me the error of my ways. Thanks George and, no, we don't' miss you. Regardless of party affiliations, we must see by now that we have two parties with one agenda and, like Wayne, pull up a chair in the middle of the aisle, stop quibbling over who is most wrong and which politician has done the dirtiest. False Flags and smoke screens, that's what elections have become. The media helps to predetermine our next rulers, free trade and our God given liberties get tossed under the bus and another Smilin' Bob steps up to the plate.

I have seen a lifetime of Smilin' Bobs. I am truly sickened of it. We peaked with Billy's "IS' classic. They lie, they laugh, they spin and we forget. What would happen if we began to hold leaders accountable for truth and integrity? What if we went so far as to demand it as a focal of the vetting process? What if we held the media accountable also? We would lose most of our officials.

People who present themselves with flawless perfection have instantly gained my suspicion. Everyone fails and makes mistakes, good people learn from them. It isn't whether or not you've erred that counts, it's how you wear your mistakes that defines your character. The idea that character doesn't matter has become an American staple for disaster. After you get called on the carpet is too late to come clean. Folks had a heyday with Tiger's goofy repentance speech, I could care less. It is between him and those in his realm of life. He owes me nothing. But it was so similar to the public contrition we get from our officials once they get exposed, and they owe me everything. I granted them access to my rights and they violated that sacred trust. I haven't much care for celebrities, but our leaders, that should be different.

If integrity were considered in the vetting process: Rex would still be picking up garbage, Sam would have been jailed at the swearing in proceedings and most of our current candidates would be the subject of cartoons, not serious consideration. Sadly, this is not the case. We are now choosing between salespersons and will most likely get a lemon. I think that is why we go with these civil forums rather than bloody debates, we've become too sophisticated for the truth and too reasonable for sound science.

I have become a serious follower of Jack's Blog. It deserves an award (Pulitzer) for economic reporting on our local situation. It is a spotlight on corrupt finances in our city. It would be equally valuable to have a similar spotlight on character and integrity for those who want the keys to our seats of power. Alas, it seems we are, in most cases, stuck with the leading manure spreader salespeople again, if the media is to be believed.

Oh, by the way, you might have missed the great revelation. Through the FOIA act and declassification it was found that Wayne was right. The Gulf of Tonkin was a False Flag story. But I am sure that is probably the only time the government has lied to us, we all know that politicians, once elected, magically become honest, except in election years. Rest in peace Senator Wayne Morse, a true Oregon hero.

He also visited Marycrest High School, a now closed Catholic all-girls high school out on NE 132nd Ave in Parkrose. The neighborhood was quite crowded that day.

Speaking of Senators from the Northeast visiting Oregon, maybe we can finally make some progress on getting rid of the pointless phonebook drops ...

if NY takes the lead, maybe Ron Wyden will learn of it at home and promote this for Oregon on one of his visits!

May 15,1960, I was 15 days into a 6 month field training with Tektronix. One week after returning permanently to Oregon for Tek, Kennedy was shot.

I never realized this before.

Makes me a bit depressed.

Strom Thurmond holds the record for the longest filibuster in Senate history; he spoke against the 1957 civil rights bill for twenty-four hours, eighteen minutes.

Thanks, McGregor, for your post. I really appreciate your perspective. You and other Oregonians might be interested in this great film clip of Senator Wayne Morse that was included in my old friend Norman Solomon's excellent film, "War Made Easy:"

I too really appreciate Jack's Blog. Jack was a high school friend of mine back in New Jersey, who I happened to find again this past year through Facebook. Though I do not live in Oregon, I find his reporting to be extremely insightful as a microcosm of national issues. Thanks, Jack, wonderful work!

Congresswoman Edith Green was with
Kennedy as they made appearances in Portland, including the Albina neighborhood before the May primary.
They came to Immaculate Heart grade School at North Williams and Stanton
during a school assembly and myself and many others got to shake hands with the future president of the United States.
While at Immaculate Heart, the parish priest Father Mel Stead put a religious medal around Kennedy's neck and a photographer took a picture of the two smiling men, arms around each other. At Christmas-time, when JFK was President-elect Immaculate Heart parishoners received a Christmas card with the picture of Fr. Stead and Kennedy and the caption read, "Christmas greetings from Mel and his good friend Jack."

Wow, Donna, that clip left me a little teary eyed. He was gentle when he spoke to me, but that is clearly the great man I remember. I only wish I would have understood him at the time, but I certainly do now.

MacGregor, I also enjoyed your post. I too saw Senator Morse a few times in Eugene and remember the times that he spoke at the Lane Co. Fair. And my dad knew him having done some clearing, heavy equipment work for him on his Eugene farm-yes, Senator Morse had many trees cut down. I'm just curious (not argumentative) in regards to your comments on "integrity"; how do you reconcile President Kennedy's several infidelities with integrity? Is it separate spheres?

The september visit was for naught; Nixon won Oregon in 1960.

Quite right Lawrence, Morse held it for 4 years when Strom beat him out by 2 hours in 57. Strom holds the record, but Wayne held it for 4 years with integrity.

Senator Morse was known to exit his flight at PDX and stop to visit with anybody wanting to talk and that included the ground crew working on the apron. Imagine Ron Wyden doing that today. Oh I forget, he doesn't live here any more or does he?

Most excellent question question Jerry, and one that would deserve a conference. I could answer that about Morse, but there is a lot of fog on the Kennedy issue. There are probably some better answers available from this informed group of bloggers. I was young and ill informed in the 60's. What I knew of the Kennedy's was mostly bad. Joseph was just evil. Their attitude towards women and lobotomizing of an inconvenient daughter are straight out of a horror movie. No wonder John had integrity issues.

But one thing that I truly believe is that integrity can be restored or rebuilt. Whether it was Bobby or Jack is not clear, but when they laid down their lives to break the yokes off our nation, something took a dramatic turn. We may never know the whole story, but we owe them a lot for trying and what they exposed in the process. It cost them their lives, but could eventually be a down payment on the restoration of our nation.


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