I can understand why David Sirota and his retweeters are impatient about the attention to Trump. Among the issues facing the United States of America in the 2016 presidential election–the broken immigration system, extreme inequality, endless wars, out-of-control gun violence, and the assault on voting rights– the question of who perpetrated one homicide in Dallas 52 years ago may seems trivial, far-fetched, and perversely beside the point.
The fact that serious news reporters from Bloomberg asked the most popular Republican presidential candidate for his views on the subject is proof. The question of who was responsible for the tragic events of 1963 remains very much alive in American culture.
The Bloomberg reporters asked the wrong question. The JFK question is less about what Oswald did in 1963 than about what we (the American people, their elected representatives, and the next president) are going to do in 2016 Talking about Oswald can be a way of avoiding the real, contemporary issues that JFK’s unsolved assassination never ceases to raise.
The JFK issue in 2016 is about accountability, transparency, and secrecy–about whether the national security agencies of the U.S. government can be held accountable by the elected representatives of the people. The JFK question has again worked its way into a presidential campaign because the memory of JFK’s murder has not faded and doubts about the ability of the people to check these agencies are so pervasive. And for good reason.
The U.S. government retains at least, 3,600 documents about JFK’ assassination that have never been seen by the public. These files, scheduled for release in October 2017, include:
–records of the operations of senior CIA officers who are known to have been involved in assassination conspiracies;
–records of CIA undercover officers who implicated themselves in Kennedy’s assassination;
–CIA officers who knew about the politics, travels and foreign contacts of Lee Oswald before JFK was killed.
See my rundown of Top 7 JFK Files the CIA still keeps secret, and Politico’s Bryan Bender on Why the last of the JFK records could embarrass the CIA.
For these records to remain secret 25 years after Congress unanimously passed the JFK Records Act mandating the “immediate” release of all of the government’s assassination-related records is proof positive of the impotence of the elected government compared to the national security agencies. Whatever his views on the perennial conspiracy question, I hope Donald Trump will continue to address to the JFK issue in the 2016 campaign
Sirota is right about one thing. The really pressing question in 2016 isn’t “Did Oswald act alone?” The JFK question for 2016 presidential candidates is,
“Will you ensure the October 2017 release of all information which might shed light on the JFK assassination?”
JFK in 2016
About the National Archives’ plans to declassify 3,600 JFK documents in October 2017.
What is the JFK Assassination Records Act?