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November 27, 1963 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1963-11-27

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he United States' Legacy: Sorrow; Its Future: Uncei



Lost Youth
T HE VIOLENT DEATH of President Ken-
nedy represents the end of a symbol
for American youth-a symbol proving
that hard work, vitality and youth can
attain the highest office in the land.
For many years the presidency seemed
to be open only to those older men who
had proved themselves after many long
years. But the New Frontier swept in
with an energy and enthusiasm that cap-
tured the minds of younger America.
With Kennedy's death all this will end.
Johnson is taking the helm and he is not
and never was really a part of this youth-
ful spirit.
THE ASSASSINATION also more deeply
affects young students than the gen-
eration of the 1930's because we had never
before lived through a major crisis and
national mourning comparable to this last
weekend. While parents can cushion their
grief with memories of President Roose-
velt's death, the younger generation has
no such memories. This weekend has
strengthened and matured students as
citizens and has taught us the first feel-
ing of national crisis and unity.
Finally, the brutal events have showed
young America that the country is not in-
sensitive to open violence and injustice.
Many times youthful idealism makes
young people believe that in this advanced
age of education and technology the
United States is immune to injustice.
Kennedy and Oswald's deaths prove this
is not true.
as it always has. There is a new Presi-
dent who will handle legislative problems,
hit domestic snags and 'keep the United
States active in world affairs. It is both
morbid and unrealistic to keep our eyes
turned to the past and become lost in
what was or could have been.
But one cannot help but feel that some-
thing has been lost, and it will not be re-
captured for a very long time.
Personnel Director
WE HAVE PAID John F. Kennedy our
final respects. We have buried him
with honors, amidst prayers and eulogies.
We have praised his humaneness and
his leadership. Yet, when the late Presi-
dent was alive, most of us restrained our
praise and spared him our assistance. We
acclaimed the ideals he stood for and
then sat back while he waged battle with
the forces of inertia and reaction,
Now that he is dead, we can go through
all the motions of reverence. After an
appropriate monument has been built to
his memory (legislation has already been
introduced to this effect) and after sev-
eral biographies have appeared and dis-
appeared, we can forget what John F.
Kennedy was all about. And the greatest
tragedy of his administration will be that
we failed to learn anything from it.
LIFE IS A learning process. The nation
that has ceased to learn, has ceased to
We have too long enjoyed the benefits
and privileges of citizenship while fail-
ing to accept its more essential responsi-
bilities. We must learn that a democracy
demands a politically informed and ac-
tively interested citizenry without which
any new frontier will perish.

CITIZENSHIP in the United States de-
mands more than a willingness to go
to war when the country is threatened,
more than the ability to spout passages
from the Declaration of Independence
verbatim, more than a fluency with the
latest GNP figures demonstrating the
"superiority of the American way of life."
Citizenship demands concern, under-
standing and work; understanding of the
problems of the aged, of economically de-
pressed areas, of the underdeveloped na-
tions, concern for the Negro's dignity, for
world peace and a willingness to work to-
ward the solutions to these problems.
ULTIMATELY, and this is the most diffi-
cult lesson to learn, citizenship must
acknowledge its primary obligation to
mankind: not to any particular entity,
be it state, nation or the Western world.
President Kennedy realized this and we
can admire him for it. But admiration
will not be enough. Nor will it be suffi-
cient merely to close ranks behind Presi-
dent Johnson. While we hope that he will
be equal to his task, we must not forget
to be equal to our own.

'U's Memorial
H AD IT BEEN a day for pride, we would
have been proud of the University
Monday. The streets were still, the build-
ings closed. Words were useless, but some-
how the community could sense the enor-
mity of what had happened.
Late in the afternoon the University
held its own memorial service at Hill Au-
ditorium. What, just one week before, had
been a scene of hatred, turned Monday
into a scene of remorse. The crowd was
overflowing, and silent.
It wasn't a long service. Less than an
hour. But it served its end.
Hatcher delivered the University's tri-
bute to the man who "represented the
precious attributes of faith and humility
before God, co-mingled with valor, com-
passion and courage as a leader among
"Surely these tragic events must teach
us again that evil, violence and hatred
breed on each other, leading to destruc-
tion," President Hatcher said.
We had little room for pride, but the
University and its President acquitted
themselves well Monday. They deserve to
know it.
about the Age of Unreason, the Age of
War and Brotherly Hate. To them, con-
temporary American society will be the
Society of Self-Delusion, whose people
thought themselves elevated above "the
other half of humanity" culturally, social-
ly, morally, and most of all, politically.
, We are the people who sneer when we
read of revolutions in Iraq, and violent
religious persecution in South Viet Nam.
The great tragedy is that we need a
President's assassination to shake us from
our happy-happy world into reality. The
United States today is not the paragon of
constitutional democracy and political
stability that too many of us thought it
was. We aren't perfect: we, too, have
WE CONDEMN Lee Oswald, unaware
that society murdered President Ken-
nedy. We tried to mold Oswald after our
own image and failed. Mass-man left
one man behind, forgot about him, re-
jected him. Socially stable we are. So
stable that the man who stands just a
little outside of society's boundaries is
alienated. And because we alienated Lee
Oswald, we, too, are in part responsible
for the President's death.
Unfortunately, mass-man doesn't learn
from his mistakes. If he did, he wouldn't
have murdered Lee Oswald. Whether or
not Oswald was Kennedy's assassin is ir-
Jack Ruby was one of them. He was no
social outcast, no Oswald-type misen-
thrope as such; he was the man-on-the-
street who demonstrated that our society,
just like any other, is thrust into confu-
sion and cannot function constitutionally
during times of crisis. It is time to re-
shape our society and ourselves in many
NO ONE SHOULD BE condemned be-
cause he didn't view last weekend's
events in the same light as most people
seem to have.

He should not be censured just because
he sought his diversion at a movie theatre
instead of by looking at-but not really
seeing-his television, or by smoking cig-
arette after cigarette in sorrow and utter
He should not be blamed for a lack of
feeling if the assassination of the Presi-
dent did not affect him in precisely the
way that others thought that it should.
NO MAN CAN FORCE another to feel
sorry for something if, deep in his
heart, the person really doesn't harbor a
feeling of sorrow.
Mourning can't be forced on a person,
even by taking away movies, football
games or other entertainment and diver-
Everyone should have been and should
be free to treat the situation that existed
last weekend in whatever manner he him-
self believed to be correct.
This is one of the basic freedoms John
Fitzgerald Kennedy stood for and fought
for-and perhaps died for.

Sur face
City Editor
WASHINGTON - Thousands of
people streamed into the na-
tion's capital over the weekend to
pay their respects to the late John
F. Kennedy.
They jammed the curbs and
sidewalks to observe the flag-
d r a p e d casket being drawn
through the streets to be placed
inside the Capitol; they then lined
up for 22 blocks to file past the
President's bier.
whole affair, it seemed to me, was
a surface solemnity. The crowd
was quiet, forte emost part, dur-
ing the brief ceremony at the ro-
tunda when the casket was re-
moved from the horse-drawn car-
riage and carried up the Capitol
steps by an honor guard.
But therewas little grief. From
what I could see, the spectators
were there because something im-
portant, something historical was
happening, and they wanted to
see it. The people came, and they
were silent and respectful; but
they were not deeply moved.
A Washington reporter ex-
pressed it best: it was a national
loss, not a personal loss. There
had been no deep affection for
Kennedy before his death. He was
competent, energetic and eloquent,
and Americans probably were
aware of all this. But the masses
did not love him as they had
Franklin Roosevelt, and. if the
people in Washington were an ac-
curate, enough index, they were
numbed by his death but not
grieved by it.
PERHAPS the reason was that
Kennedy had been in office for
too short a time; perhaps it was
because he was a pragmatist, of-
fering no consistent goals toward
which the country could strive.
A more basic explanation for
the popular reaction, however,
could be that America is middle
class. The right thing to do after
the death of our leader is to feel
sorry; and after the initial shock
wears off, we must say things like
"What a terrible tragedy, but
somehow we must carry on." In
more gilded prose, this was about
all that three days of around-the-
clock television coverage said.
These were my thoughts as I
stood among the crowds in Wash-
ington. To tell the truth, after a
while the whole spectacle became
a bit boring.

Letters to the Editor
View Assassination


TWO PRESIDENTS - The question many are now asking is if
President Lyndon B. Johnson will carry out the late President
John Kennedy's policies: will he be able to continue the vigorous
administration of his predecessor?
Has Death Ended
A Vigorous.Ntin

dreadful gunshots last Friday,
the United States may have lost
more than its leader. When John
F. Kennedy acceded to the presi-
dency in January, 1961, he took
over a nation demoralized by the
Soviet advances in technology and
world affairs of the '50's, and in-
spired Americans with his youth-
ful vitality to take up with re-
newed energy the banner of free-
dom in the world and at home.
With his youthful fire Mr. Ken-
nedy captured the imagination of
the American public, inspiring our
nation to cast off the lethargy
which had gripped it, and to make
daring advances in foreign af-
fairs and in national issues.
Through forceful action in world
affairs, Mr. Kennedy re-assured
the American people and our allies
that the sagging American posi-
tion was no longer and that once
more our nation was moving ahead
in a vigorour pursuit of the prin-
ciples of democracy.
At home he awakened Ameri-
cans to the many unsolved prob-
lems in our land of plenty. New
and intensive attempts were ini-
tiated for the solution of these
problems. All political factions,
not the liberals alone, took up an
active program. On all fronts, from
civil rights to medical care for
the aged to an unflinching stand

against totalitarian forces, Ameri-
cans were taking stands and look-
ing for solutions.
, * * *
INSPIRED by the physical
strength of our President, Ameri-
cans took up the challenge that we
were becoming soft. New energy
and enthusiasm burst forth in our
country. A nation of spectators
became aware once again that
physical activity and mental ac-
tivity wvent hand-in-hand. A spirit
of adventureand achievement,
reminiscent of the old frontier,
was again elevating America to
It was not by chance that
America's downhill plunge was
arrested in the '60's. It was the
youth of our President that once
more made us young and con-
cerned. It was his vitality that
made us strong and forceful. It
was the sight of his relentless pur-
suit of noble principles that gave
us new life and inspired new at-
tempts to throw back the coldness
and darkness of the world, as we
again were striving for fulfillment
of the American ideals.
THIS WEEK or next, the Unit-
ed States will launch its first
Saturn rocket, more powerful than
any missile the Soviet Union has.
This marks a climax in America's
long climb back-back from the
days when the hapless Vanguard
sat still and silent on its launch-
ing pad. This climb, begun dur-
ing the last years of the Eisen-
hower administration, gained
spark and speed under America's
youthful 35th President.
While the Kennedy administra-
tion did not solve the problems
facing us, it made Americans
aware of the problems and got
attempts to solve them going on
all fronts. Are we now going to
sit back once again, to slip back
in front of our television sets and
be content to see what other
people-and most of them imagin-
ary-are doing, because Mr. Ken-
nedy is no longer our tonic?
The old frontier which allowed
American democracy to grow and
prosper has long since died. Is
the new frontier, which rejuvinat-
ed a complacent people, to die
with its innovator? Or are all
Americans, right wing andleft,
going to carry on with the vigor
and youthful zeal which charac-
terized our late President and
made our country great? The
success of American ideals in
world struggles and, at home can
only be achieved if the bold, new
frontier as characterized by John
F. Kennedy continues to inspire
Americans to action.

To the Editor:
ing this most tragic weekend.
Prof. Arnold Kaufman of the phi-
losphy department came to class
and spoke of America, and he
spoke of her people. 35 minutes
later, when this professor had con-
cluded, his students slowly, quietly,
departed from the lecture hall.
Most of them will never forget
this abbreviated lecture. Some
shall never be the same people
Prof. Kaufman spoke of man,
expectations, frustrations and
man's disconcern with his fellow
man. As if looking deep into a
vessel of tropical fish, Prof. Kauf-
man singled out Lee Harvey Os-
wald and viewed him critically,
trying desperately to see what
made. him swim so feverishly.
Then looking through the bowl
of fish, this academician observ-
ed for all of us our world of ir-
rationality where irrational people
do irrational things which result
in equally irrational and some-
times tragic conclusions. He re-
told of American ideals, American
expectations, and the frustrations
that we build into our system.
* * *
THE DEATH of our respected
and beloved President is the man-
ifestation of the frustration which
surrounds America. Lee Oswald
and his most dastardly deed is the
highest degree of that manifesta-
tion. His deed, of course, was an
act without reason.
But this irrationality is mani-
fested today in America in all
forms. Emotions rule our actions.
Reason plays the lesser role. Radi-
cal groups of both the right and
left display this tendency and
America, as a whole, uses this
"tactic" in dealing with many
problems. The segregationists,
Ross Barnett and Malcom X; the
extreme peace groups and Pen-
tagon officials; the "Better dead
than Reds," and the "Better Reds
and deads.' We are non-thinking.
We are irrational. We all share
the guilt. A great man lies dead,
his hopes for bettering the world'
entombed within his now peace-
ful body. And we ask why.
* * *
WE ASK WHY this dreadful act
as we sit at home in our segregat-
ed neighborhoods, or in our racial-
ly, nationally and religiously di-
vided work groups and social
clubs. We ask why while we carve
our Thanksgiving turkeys and re-
fuse even to think of the millions
of deprived Americans and billions
of poverty stricken world citizens.
We ask why while we allow
others to be denied their rightful
freedoms. We ask why while we
allow the expectations of Amer-
ica's creed recede into nothing-
ness and allow frustrations to
grow within our country's and our
world's bosom. And we do this
asking as we sit and read and
watch television and maybe even
cry. But we do not act. And I ask,
shall we ever learn our lesson?
And when will we begin to use
our greatest asset, our reason?
I thank Prof. Kaufman for his
words. His service to me, as my
instructor, is beyond praise. I
thank him for I shall never be the
same again. And I pray our world
heed his teachings.
-Barry Bluestone, '66
Society . .'*
To the Editor:
THE SINCERITY with which
virtually every American ex-
perienced disbelief, then sadness
and a personal sense of loss, is
unquestioned. We all felt tragedy
in the assassination of John F.
Kennedy. And immediately we had

a scapegoat, Oswald, on whom to
take out our frustrations.
But in a very real and meaning-
ful sense, werare all, perhaps, re-
sponsible for the crime. There is,
it would seem, something derang-
ed about a society that can as-
sassinate four presidents in 100
years and foster other infamous
events of hatred and violence. Per-
haps the murder of the innocent
Oswald-innocent until proven
guilty in a court of law-was an
even more dramatic indication of
the state of American sanity than
the slaying of the President. Nor
can we pass off these events as
the isolated and meaningless acts
of sick individuals; it is individuals
who, for better or worse, speak
for a society.
* * *
THE MASS MEDIA last week-
end created the greatest circus
this country has even witnessed.
We Americans, however, enjoy
great spectacles, and the way in
which the situation was handled
could hardly have surprised any-
one. The question remains, though,
whether such an event, in fact,
should become a spectacle.
We like to think America has
come a long way since the wild
frontier days. But we still seem
to find ourselves uncivilized in
the days of the new frontier. Thus,
the first tribute we can pay to
the late President is thoughtful
reflection. The grim events of last
weekend have given us something
to think about: about our society
and about ourselves.
-Joseph Sinclair, '64
Aanreness ..
To the Editor:
IN REVIEWING the events of the
past few days, I have become
aware of something arising within
me. Too young to have felt the
full impact of Pearl Harbor or
President Roosevelt's death, I feel
now, for the first time, the weight
of a national consciousness on my
Our nation has weathered many
crises since I was born, yet none
of the impact of Friday's event
I speak for myself, and many
others of my generation, when I
say that I now realize the full
implications of being a citizen of
the United States.
by President Kennedy's death. Yet
aside from our sincere grief, I
think we realize that this is not
a time to give way to hysteria. We
must act now with strength and
fortitude as we have on similar
occasions in the past, looking
toward the future, not with mis
givings, but with confidence and
And as we in this university
pursue our educational endeavors,
I believe that we now are more
fully aware of our duty not just to
ourselves but also to our nation
and to the world. For my genera-
tion this is the first, but certainly
not the last, crisis we will face as
a nation and as members of an
international community.
-Sue Curtis Bunting, '65
Sympathy . . -
To the Editor:
THE PAKISTAN Students' As-
sociation of the University
joins with the American nation in
its sorrow and bereavement at the
sad, gruesome assassination of
John F. Kennedy, 35th President
of the United States of America,
and expresses its sincere sym-
pathy for Mrs. Kennedy and his
bereaved family.
-Badar Uddin Kadri, 64L
In Common . .
To the Editor:
might not have possessed any-

thing in common, now for the
first time share deep in their
minds a great sorrow.
Even God must have wept for
His choice to summon a man with
a high ideal; Mr. John F. Ken-
nedy, to His Kingdom.
-Hirokuni Tamura, Grad
To the Editor:
W HEN I FIRST left home for
college in 1953, an older friend
encouraged me not to let study-
ing interfere with my college edu-
cation. I thought then that such
a statement was pretty clever and
had adult overtones. Today, I was
shown exactly what it meant.
Jeffrey Goodman in an editorial,
"To Honor the Dead," has very
sadly confused the classroom with
the place of learning, the profes-
sor with the vehicle of education
and the world with the place in
which knowledge is applied. The
classroom and teacher should
serve only as guides and motiva-
tors. The world is the source of


'America on Brecht'
Avoids the Intention
BRECHT ON BRECHT" was performed to a mournful Hill Aud.
audience Monday night, and must be considered ultimately in its
relation to the macabre assassinations of John Kennedy and Lee
The performance, considered by itself, was a brilliant selection of
songs, poems and theatre by the great German Marxist. Lotte Lenya
exhibited the throatiness and power, especially in her songs from "The
Threepenny Opera," which make her the world's greatest player of
Brecht. Micki Grant's work, too, was eloquent though limited because
of the dominant role assigned Miss Lenya. And though the three
other players in the touring New York cast were less stirring, in general
there could only be praise for the overall coherence and variety of the
There were moving moments: Miss Grant's rendering of the tale of
Marie Farrar, a poor prostitute who murders her baby for whom there
is no hope in a society of inequality and privilege; Philip Sterling's
version of Galileo attacking the conformity of scholars to the ruling
class; Miss Lenya as the Jewish wife who sees the self-deceiving hypoc-
risy of the German intelligentsia before Hitler.
*, * *
BUT THE TOTAL production abused Brecht's real intents as writer
and teacher. Brecht did not mean his theatre to be sensationally dom-
inated by players and techniques - as is the American theatre. His
work is functional, sparse,, meant to force the audience into critical
participation, a dramatic means of examining our social relationships
and social structures.
The failure of this production was the tendency to erase Brecht's
communist perspective as if it were irrelevant to his art. Brecht be-
comes a bawdy and unconventional critic with sympathies for "the
people" as they are snared in evil. His poetic and polemic ironies
remain, but their social context of dialectical contradictions virtually
THIS STILL makes wonderful theatre, indeed a theatre more rich
and radical than anything on stage today, but it is not "Brecht on
Brecht" - it is "America on Brecht." I believe Brecht's unique and
complicated Marxism, a synthesis of materialism and cynicism, was
the framework determining his aesthetics. Only a biased selection of
his work - as were most of the selections from his plays Monday -
could produce the new American characterization of him as a liberal
with elusive existentialist tendencies.
The genuine Brecht would attempt to make our theatre social -
which means making an audience alive and integrated into the prob-
lems of the drama. He would not provide easy solutions, but he might
aid us to think with less helplessness about the commercial and
bureaucratic system which enhances the logic of assassination to its
discontented lurkers.
He would attack an order which quietly assassinates meaning and
new possibilities wherever they are dangerous to the current social
system. The distortion of Brecht is part of the American tendency to
smother conflict for the sake of an artificial consensus, a process which
generates the very parodies of protest - crime, suicide, fantasy, de-
linquency - that occur in Dallas and, in less spectacular ways, daily
in this society.
* * *

Returning to Normal

dent John F. Kennedy is one
of thegreatest of social tragedies
and deserves to be mourned as
such. Cancellation of University
activities and announcement of a
national day of mourning illus-
trates the length to which this
mourning has gone; it is only
fitting that this should be the
case when our President has died.
And yet, there is a problem in-
volved in that there is a point
beyond whichdmourning cannot be
carried with dignity. We as a na-
tion have two options: we may
either give ourselves over to a vast
sense of dismay andlethargy oc-
casioned by the death of our
President; or we may sadly turn
from the past and make the at-
tempt to reconstruct a workable
government and world.
INDIVIDUALLY, we are hor-
rified at the premeditated bru-
tality of the President's assassina-
tion. Photographs and news re-
_ ._. . e... . .......~. L . - 1 .f . .

vade all our actions for an undue
length of time? Mourning the
President is the most defensible
act in the world today. Yet,
mourning carried to maudlin de-
grees would not only be tasteless
but also entirely incommensurate
with the spirit in which President
Kennedy lived.
The President had a finely de-
veloped instinct for what'was hon-
orable in social and political sit-
uations. It seems that nothing
could be farther from his wishes
than that the people of his na-
tion should mourn him in an un-
seemly manner or for an undigni-
fied length of time.
NATIONALLY, of course, our
reactions are much the same; the
nation is stunned by its loss. The
reactions being the same, my pre-
cautions are the same. The na-
tion has lost a great and a good
man, but his memory will not be
honored if our sense of loss is the
cause for indecision or procras-
tination in any field of national
affairs Our natinn must maintain

geny-Third Year

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