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We’re better when working together

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View from the Middle

By Jim Rohrer

As we approach the 50th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies in our history, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, many theories are popping up again.
I have never been a conspiracy theorist, but I do think that the root cause of the assassination didn’t hatch in the brain of Lee Harvey Oswald. To be sure, he fired those shots on the grassy knoll that day. Many historians have documented the vitriol from those who saw the new young president as a threat to their comfortable view of the way things were. Perhaps it was these feelings that fired the assassination thoughts in the brain of the mentally disturbed Oswald.
Those who were part of the administration strongly advised the president to not go to Dallas. This quote by journalist Will Lester summarizes the mood in Texas at the time:
“The book ‘Dallas 1963’ tracks Dallas from early 1960 to late 1963 and introduces a colorful cast of Texas characters from the Rev. W.A. Criswell, who ranted about communism and integration, to Congressman Bruce Alger, who sang the praises of Gen. Robert E. Lee on the floor of Congress, to the rich oilman H.L. Hunt, who passionately agreed with both of them. Among the most dynamic of these was Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker, a daring military leader relieved of duty by Kennedy because of his increasingly outspoken views that ‘the enemy’ was taking over the country.”
Our country has always had differences of opinion and a diversity of views, but as I read this book, it’s clear to me that our differences have deteriorated into a lack of respect for the other side, much like the climate in 1963. If you don’t believe it, watch the talking heads on so-called cable news shows. They raise their voices in disrespect for the alternative point of view, and it’s clear that they aren’t interested in honest discourse.
After President Kennedy died, we had a period of time when the sadness of the horrible event seemed to bring us together as a nation. As I reflect on it now, 50 years later, I believe that vitriol killed our president and robbed us of his legacy. I wish for a time when we realize that we are a greater nation when we work together than when we widen our divisions.
As spokesman for a nonpartisan America, Michael Smerconish likes to say, “I want to start a conversation, not have the last word.”

Jim Rohrer of Evergreen is a business consultant and author of the bi-books “Improve Your Bottom Line … Develop MVPs Today” and “Never Lose Your Job … Become a More Valuable Player.” Jim’s belief is that common sense is becoming less common. (More about Jim at www.theloyaltypartners.com.)