I was eleven. I was watching a documentary about the Cuban Missle Crisis with my father. That sounds impressive for a tween, but it was 1973 and there was only one television. Since I was almost as quiet as Dad, I was allowed to stay in the room.
The program was relating how Kennedy cut a press trip short with the excuse that he had a bad cold.
Dad turned to me and said - and I clearly remember, it was a Friday, because Dad didn’t speak to me unless it was Friday and he had been drinking, which he only did on Fridays - Dad turned to me and said solemnly, “And that lie was the FIRST time a president EVER lied to the American people.”
i was amazed. Amazed. First, amazed that Dad knew so much about American history, and specifically about Presidential lying. Also, I was amazed that presidents didn’t lie, but he had specified that it was a Lie to the People, so maybe there were other lies, but maybe presidents had vowed to be straight up with the People?
I remembered that for years. Enough years, thankfully, that I grew up and:
- Understood sarcasm and
- Could put his comment in historical context, given that it was mid-Watergate era.
I wonder what on earth he would think of the current president, who - who just - I can’t even use the term “lies all the time” because, honestly, for something to be a lie you have to have some idea of what the truth is.