JFK, In My Words

By C Howard Diaz


Friday night I watched an HBO special that was first aired on the 25th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy, called “John F. Kennedy, In His Own Words.”

During the beginning and throughout the program they showed movie pictures of JFK and his family as he was growing up.  They were nice movie clips of a young Kennedy and in his teens and early twenties.

I was suddenly struck with the thought of how many politicians have these same kind of home movies.

I thought about not having any home movies of me or my family when I was growing up. Knowing the answer, as to why, it sounds as if I’m playing a pity card, but I’m not. To make home movies requires having a home movie camera and that takes money. Money was something my family didn’t have, ergo no home movies. In fact the first time I went to a dentist was when I joined the Air Force. Oh pity me!

As I watched the documentary I was reminded JFK and Jacqueline were married September 12, 1953. Their wedding drew three thousand people. Oddly I know exactly what I was doing on that Saturday in 1953. I was sixteen and had worked my way up to a Journeyman Produce man in the Retail Clerks Union, the highest paid category in the union at age sixteen.

On that day I was working at Von’s Market on La Cieniga in Los Angeles. I remember the date so easily because it was the day before a great event happened at a jazz club in Hermosa Beach, CA named The Lighthouse, and I was there.

I also reflected that my wedding in 1955 had about thirty friends and family, with no police or TV cameras. I had to wear my Air Force uniform to my wedding because I didn’t have a suit and couldn’t afford to buy or rent one. To make matters worse I had about $20.00 in my pocket. I had married an Italian girl and it was an Italian custom to pin envelopes of money to the bride during the wedding party as each family member and family friends danced with the bride.

I hadn’t known about the custom, but we collected a little over $2300.00 in 1955 money. According to a US Inflation Calculator I used on the internet, $2300.00 in 1955 is $20,043.13 today. OVER TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS! That’s an inflation increase of 771.4%.

If we hadn’t collected that money, on that day, we would not have had a honeymoon and would not have been able to set up our apartment in Rapid City, South Dakota where I was stationed in the Air Force.

The Kennedy’s went to Acapulco Mexico for their honeymoon and I don’t belittle them that privilege, I’m not playing a pity card! I just came to realize how different my early years were to someone like Kennedy, Clinton, and Reagan, the Bush boys, McCain and most other politicians. Very few of them, if any, started at the bottom.

America’s years were very different back then and the JFK documentary reminded me of just how different.

I started counting tortilla’s at age nine and worked my way up to CEO and Chairman of the Board of more than one company, with NO university degree, from a broken home and a minority. (Get out the violins)

I thank America for giving me that opportunity, but according to today’s laws it would be illegal for me to take that same path today.

A moment in the program came, when he was campaigning, where he was asked a question about the high light bills. He answered it correctly; in fact just listen to what he said.

He said Washington and the Federal Government has nothing to do with light bills, which meant electricity in those days. That is what our Constitution calls for and back then our Constitution was followed. Since then things have changed and our politicians are not following our Constitution.

How would President Obama, Hillary Clinton or any politician answer that same question today? During Kennedy’s days there was no Federal Department of Energy, there was no Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the States regulated electricity and issued any regulatory permits required, by the State, for power plants, coal mines and the like. As per our Constitution, the federal government has no authority involving any of that…

I haven’t taken the time to calculate it, but I’ll bet the United States Federal Government has probably inflated itself at the same rate the dollar has inflated from 1955, 771.4%.

Whether it’s the dollar or the government, that inflation rate cannot continue. This country will fall under the pressure of this oversized behemoth that has so many Americans willing to give up their freedom for a cell phone, food stamps, a welfare check and free health care.

They have forgotten what they really need. They need a job with a paycheck and jobs are not mentioned in our Constitution as a responsibility of the federal government. When a central government takes over that responsibility it will decide who works, what they do, what they wear, what they eat etc. etc. ,,,, get the picture?

If, however, our Constitution was to be followed, the federal government would be a lot smaller and with no federal departments of Energy, Education, EPA, OSHA and the like, an atmosphere for free American’s with freedom to invest in what they want would be created. Americans need freedom from the thousands of laws and regulations, that have been written, and that would bring jobs back to this country. It’s not the president’s job to create jobs in the private sector.

These laws and regulations have been written in the name of saving us from us, and the president’s office has become responsible for our economy. You won’t find that in the Constitution, but who follows that old document anymore?

Kennedy did!

Because Americans believed him he won the election and last night I watched again as he took the oath of office January 20th, 1961, PUBLICLY! Back then I had just been promoted to Production Control Supervisor at age 24. I was the youngest full supervisor in the history of the company and he was the youngest man to be elected president of the United States.

Again he was swearing to preserve, protect and defend The Constitution of the United States.

A little while later I was watching Laura Ingram hosting the O’Reilly Factor and during a moment of honoring JFK, she played a video clip of him announcing his new tax cut plan. It infuriated a whole lot of fellow Democrats at the time.

HBO certainly wouldn’t include this clip in their documentary. It’s too Un-Liberal.

I believe it was with the Constitution in mind he decided to cut taxes and he was right. It increased tax revenue even though he had been warned that the revenue would be less. And as W. James Antle III later noted:

            “Keepers of the flame take note: While President Kennedy is an icon of modern American liberalism on a par with Franklin D. Roosevelt, he did not always take positions that would endear him with today’s Ben and Jerry-munching left.
            He was a proponent of increased defense spending and an aggressive anti-communist stance during the Cold War. His friends in the Senate included Joe McCarthy, who he did not vote to censure, and Barry Goldwater. And he proposed what was at the time the biggest tax cut in history. — From, “Sorry Ted, JFK Cut Taxes,” by W. James Antle III

John F. Kennedy may have been a 1960’s Democrat, but today in 2013 he would be a Constitutional Republican, just to the right of center. He knew cutting taxes and getting the government out of the way would create a better atmosphere for American business and it is American businessmen who create jobs.

Then, about two and a half years into his first term came this:

I remember exactly what I was doing that Friday on November 22, 1963. When I heard of his death. I was walking down the aisle in the machine shop at Garrett AiReasearch in Los Angeles.

I went home that night and with my wife and kids watched the TV and cried some more. It was a sad day at the Diaz house in Garden Grove, Ca. It was a sadder day for America, not just because we lost a great president, but because Lyndon Johnson proceeded to work on his “Great Society” welfare plan.

Maybe if JFK had been around longer he could have taught Lyndon how unconstitutional a welfare state is in America.