Presidents and Camelot
It was late at night. I had finished teaching a couple online classes and proofed a couple articles. My proofing essays that I just wrote isn't fail-proof. I don't notice obvious typos along with actually missing typing in words. However, I hone in on those mistakes once the essay is posted into cyberspace. Therefore, as I proofed that night, I realized that I was only picking up errors that junior high school students would see.
Then it happened. Ginger, who was sitting at my feet sleeping, stirred. The next thing out of her mouth was, "Last week, I notice a pair of your socks had Edgar Allan Poe and the raven on them. This week, you have John Kennedy's image. Apparently, you liked JFK also."
I replied that those were the days back then. However, from today, it seems like days of a distant time.
"Why do you seem so morose about the early 60s?"
I went into a long explanation about how those were the days of Camelot. I said to Ginger that many Americans weren't even born back then. After all, that was nearly a half century ago. Additionally, it isn't just an issue of being long ago. I tried to convey to Ginger that Camelot was lost in America.
"Are you saying that Camelot as a concept has been forgotten? I'm only four months old. Therefore, I wasn't alive back then. I'm like many Americans; Kennedy and Camelot seem like another age of the past."
I tried to get Ginger up to speed with JFK and Camelot. In France during the 12th century, there emerged the notion of a place called Camelot.
However, the notion of King Arthur goes back to the 5th century. He protected the Britons, along with his Knights of the Round Table.
I showed Ginger some photos that I took of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh where I went to school in the late 60s. It is believed that Arthur and his knights are there inside that hill but will come out when they are needed and save Britain.
I attempted to explain how the issue of Camelot and King Arthur morphed together into one story over the past handful of centuries. By the early 60s, Camelot morphed into the Kennedy's Camelot.
Looking back on John Kennedy and the American adaptation of Camelot, it wasn't all that it seemed like at the time. In a way, most of us missed the reality that Camelot was more of a hope and a dream than a reality.
Ginger inquired about my reflection. "Why are you so tentative about the Kennedy's Camelot? It seemed like many people saw value in it. You were into the excitement."
I told Ginger that we bought into idea the that Camelot could be reached. That was true for millions of others both here and throughout the world. However, it was also about the dream...a dream of a better time, especially for the less fortunate in America. It was the beginning of the civil rights movement and other social movements. The future was better than the present. We weren't all at the top of the mountain, but the dream was that we would get there someday...someday soon.
And that was over fifty years ago. Apparently, America hasn't gotten there yet. How come?
Again, I told Ginger that the dream burst for America. JFK was assassinated by some nutcase, and America never fully resurrected the dream of Camelot. We had not obtained equality and social justice for all. We had for rich, white males but not minorities and women. Along with not obtaining equality, the dream also died. It took me awhile to sort all this out for Ginger.
I mentioned that JFK had a bother, Bobby Kennedy. He took up the mantle of his brother. While I saw great value in John, Bobby was the one with whom I could identify the most personally. JFK seemed much older, but Bobby caught the imagination of the younger generation. He worked for human rights for all people. However, again, another nutcase killed another Kennedy. I was graduating from graduate school at that time. I simply left America for a year to study in Scotland and traveled throughout Europe. It was my way of dealing with my dashed dreams, which millions of others shared with me.
Ginger didn't stay anything as she processed my disillusionment of my dream.
Before Ginger responded, I added that Jacklyn Kennedy, JFK's wife, was interviewed sometime after her husband's assassination. She mentioned a line from the Broadway show, Camelot , that JFK liked, "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot...." Then Jacklyn added that "there'll be great Presidents again, but there'll never be another Camelot again. It will never be that way again."
By this time, Ginger did ask, "Was her comment correct about other great presidents but never again Camelot?"
It didn't take long for my response. I told Ginger that we have had ten presidents since the late 60s, and the only one that was great was Barack Obama. As for Camelot with or without the dream component, the best we can do is to try to remember "for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot...."
Ginger added, "And you don't see Donald the Dumb as a great president...."
This video is the last scene of Camelot.
This video is of Monty Python and The Holy Grail.
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