And critics are saying it's his finest.
His OTHER film about a President is his finest. What other film?
Amistad. The White House resident was former President John Quincy Adams, not Abraham Lincoln.
The story line was equally compelling: free men and the curse of slavery. One line however, sticks out in the film like a sore thumb:
"There's nothing so pathetic as an ex-President."
And though written about an ex-President who was then-serving 18 years in the US Congress, the attempt by the screenplay writer may just support some public perceptions of ex-Presidents.
But not all former presidents are treated that way. Who, for instance?
These are the men struck down in death, forever to wear the title of President. These are not the men who retired home (or were sent home) by the people of the US at the termination of their term.
These are the men assasinated.
And there seems to be an axiom that follows their deaths:
And JFK's post-life life may bear witness to that revised axiom.
America has lived through the post-November 22nd, 1963 national heart attack in every possible way imaginable:
- The very Presidents who followed Kennedy's death each were selected/elected because of his absence. Had he lived many of these men would never have been chosen.
- The fiscal policies he supported were eventually rejected (or forgotten) by his own political party.
- The ever-present "youth" image he radiated became an obsession in America. He was never allowed to grow older - and many Americans failed to successfully embrace their own life-season changes. Adolescence just got grayer.
- The military's roots would not have gone as deeply into our economy as they have.
- Our foreign policy may have stayed somewhat the same, but key aspects of Middle East policy regarding Israel would be sacrosanct.
- Kennedy's adulterous liaisons, once unfurled for the world in his own life-time, would have damaged the presidency and his own reputation in a way similar to Nixon's Watergate problems. Most likely it would have happened in his time as an ex-President.
So, five decades with and without JFK have produced a million "what ifs" in a generation that itself is passing away. Fathers who shielded their children at the grassy knoll in Dallas are mostly all gone. Parents who sat non-stop with their families in front of black-and-white TV sets are almost all gone, as well - to meet their Creator. JFK's own son has been dead for almost a decade and a half.
The children and teens of that generation's parents are now grandparents, looking on images of a youthful President Kennedy and seeing something of their own youth... and its vanishing away.
The generation that was deeply impacted by his death will soon pass away.
Yet, President Kennedy's impact remains.
And the younger generations of Americans will continue to be impacted by many policies that were initiated as a result of his death by those many now-ex Presidents who followed him.