By Judge Anna von Reitz | Big Lake, Alaska
It was Halloween, 1960. I and my version of the Peanuts Gang were Halloweening. In Black River Falls, Wisconsin, we didn’t go “Trick or Treating”. We went Halloweening. Every year. No exceptions.
I was a hobo with a crushed hat, patched coat two sizes too big, tattered pants and big, scuffed work boots. My best friend, Ann, was a Gypsy Lady with a shawl and a silk scarf over her head and a pair of the biggest hoop earrings any of us had ever seen. Her older sister, Lisa, was a pirate, and she was riding the Spook-Spackler, a giant, ramshackle bicycle that once belonged to a much older (male) cousin.
To ride the Spook-Spackler you had to line it up with a stairway, like on a porch, and leap onto the seat while wobbling forward, then wait for the pedal to come up before you could hit it with your foot, and then wait for the other pedal to come up and hit that. It was like riding a bicycle in slow motion.
We were accompanied on our mission by Sam, a giant reverse-spot Dalmatian, who, strictly speaking, belonged to our neighbors, but he loved kids and was always ready for an adventure, so…. he was AWOL that night and we simply brought him home after the festivities. Most Dalmatians are white with black spots, but once in a while, you get one that is black with white spots. Sam was one of those, so it was almost like he was in costume, too.
The Transylvania Twist and The Mummy and all the popular silly doo-wop Halloween songs were playing on phonographs all over town as we tromped from house to house. It was a memorable night that involved dust devils, Lisa swooping up and down the street behind us on the Spook-Spackler, the dog chasing behind her, a white cat attacking Sam and riding him like a horse down the middle of the street, and the biggest, weirdest haul of Halloween loot ever.
We were less than a week away from the 1960 Presidential Election, the great debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was a very recent memory, and both the Republicans and the Democrats were pulling out all the stops, trying to capture the Kid Vote, vying with each other in lavishing treats on us, and stuffing our plastic pumpkins full of campaign buttons and pamphlets.
We all agreed that Democrat Snickers bars beat Republican popcorn balls, and therefore predicted a win for Kennedy. And we were right, as kids usually are.
I still have a large JFK campaign button gifted to me that night, one of the really big ones, with a photo of him on it. He’s smiling that all-American smile of his. I always thought he should have been a pilot instead of in the Navy, but what do kids know? Besides the outcome of elections?
Every year on the anniversary of his assassination, I take that campaign button out, hold it in my hand like a Magic Token, and wonder — what happened to this country? What happened to the Democrat Party?
It used to be fun. It used to be high-minded. A few weeks later, in January of 1961, Kennedy gave his inaugural address and we heard, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
That’s such a far cry from the whining and victimhood and loser narrative that is now the stock and trade of Democratic candidates. JFK’s Inaugural Address is so completely foreign and removed from the dreary self-pitying, self-absorbed, partisan, anti-American drivel that pours like poison out of Democrats today. The entire Democrat political party is unrecognizable, but the Republicans, aside from the RINOs, are still the same.
Maybe it is the fact that conservative values are conservative, or simply a firmer grasp on reality that goes along with less imagination, but I can still recognize the Republican Party sixty years later. At the Fall Festival parties that have replaced Trick or Treating in many communities, popcorn balls are still featured. Cake Walks still happen. Life goes on and Snoopy still sleeps on the roof of his dog house.
But among the Democrats, it’s a completely different deal. They are giving the kids condoms as “treats” and passing out pamphlets about “liberation theology”. There is no connection between JFK’s clean, expansive, inclusive vision and what’s on offer from the Democratic Party today. Today, it’s the party of wanton disrespect for life, disrespect for God, and disrespect for country, all salted down by snarky, holier-than-thou news commentators.
What happened, people? What kind of poisonous evil, what horrible betrayal of JFK and everything he stood for, has come to pass in the Democratic Party? The American People have spent untold trillions of dollars on every Democratic Party Sacred Cow and things have only gotten worse. Test scores in the toilet, crime statistics in the stratosphere, Nanny State oppression at all time highs, kids afraid to go out at night — because there are real vampires on our streets. It has to end. Somewhere, somehow, Democrats all over this country are reading this message and in the back of their minds they are wrestling with my question—what happened?
Whatever happened, we, Americans, have to get the train back on track, and that can only happen if we have a common vision. JFK had a vision in common with all people, everywhere. And he was a Democrat. So you have no excuse for what is happening to this country now.
Go back and read his speeches, take in the self-reliance and optimism he taught, and the truth that he and his brother, Robert, served up so bravely and on so many occasions. And then, shake off the lies and the snarking and the self-pity and the cheating. Rise above the criminality that has infested every vestige of political reality.
If there is one rallying cry left that can heal this country and bring back its dynamism and joy and sense of self, it’s a bequest from a Democrat, and you know who he is and how he died. You owe it to yourselves to find out what happened. And you owe it to him to uphold his vision for all mankind.