Trying to Put All America Behind

Sixty years ago this summer, on August 7, 1961, President John Kennedy signed the bill creating The Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts.  It consists of forty miles of immaculate sandy beach, marshes, ponds, and upland along the Atlantic Ocean, with some portions stretching across the land to Cape Cod Bay in the west.  Henry Thoreau walked this wild Outer Atlantic Beach in 1849.  He said you can stand there and look out to sea and “put all America behind” you.

I am trying to do that as I stand looking at the waves breaking on a foggy early morning shore.  I am alone except for the hundreds of seals moaning on a sand bar and the gulls fishing in the tidal inlet at the far southern end of Coast Guard Light Beach.  A few laughing gulls swoop by as if to mock me with their laugh-like calls.

It is very hard to put the United States of America behind you when the fog of an endless propaganda war warps your mind and tries to crush your spirit even when you look away as far as the eye can see.

Across the ocean to the northeast, Mathew Arnold, on a far distant shore in England, wrote his famous poem “Dover Beach” at about the same time that Thoreau was walking where I stand.  Two very different men standing in different worlds, not just one at a window and the other in the blowing wind.

The former was an academically connected school inspector whose faith, vague as it was, was falling away as he described in “Dover Beach”: the turbulent ebb and flow of the breaking waves of faith that was being replaced by the sad withdrawing roar of melancholic human misery, devoid of love, light, joy, certitude, or help for pain.  It was the rhythmic sound of world weariness and declining faith in the Old World.

The latter, a child of the New World, harsh critic though he was of the resigned lives of quiet desperation most people live, was still a man of deep if unorthodox faith in the divine, telling us that most people are determined not to live by faith if they can help it, as if anyone could live without faith in something, whether that something be God, skepticism, atheism, or the then emerging new god of science. He considered people’s constant distrustful anxiety an incurable disease and he would no doubt consider the current religion of science a subject for his withering scorn and underappreciated humor.  Try imagining the government telling Thoreau that he had to be vaccinated and he needed a document to travel by stagecoach from his home in Concord to the Cape.

The young rebel Thoreau (he was in his early thirties like Arnold) still held to the conviction that if enough people gave serious attention to the transcendent nature of their natural surroundings and lived by its divine revelations, a new world was possible.  But also only if they simplified their lives and lived by principles that excluded the mad pursuit of money, slavery, and the worship of false gods.  This was eleven years before the American Civil War, which Thoreau didn’t survive.  He died on May 6, 1862.  His final words were: “Now comes good sailing.”

Arnold died at age sixty-six of a heart attack while running to catch a train.

Old and new symbols of power marked their final journeys: the iron horse and wind-filled sails.

Where Arnold saw a nightmarish illusion in the sea, Thoreau saw wonder and possibility, but not devoid of possible doom.  Although often cast as a wild dreamer, Thoreau had his feet planted solidly in plain reality.

“I sat down on the boundless level and enjoyed the solitude, drank it in, the medicine for which I had pined,” wrote Thoreau, so I followed his lead and sat on a stretch of sand with no human in sight and gazed at the glimmer of a fading moon until I lost my senses.  For a few minutes I was gone.

But nature and solitude do not necessarily quiet the mind, and when I returned from my cataleptic state the wind was blowing from the west and the USA snuck up behind my back.  America may be hard to find, but it’s also hard to lose. The wind blew my mind’s eye straight across the imaginary northern latitude line to Cannes, France and its Film Festival where Oliver Stone’s new documentary, “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking-Glass,” written by James DiEugenio, has just premiered.

It is hard here on the sands of the Cape not to think of JFK, especially since he saved these sands for posterity, a bit of the USA that remains if you ever go looking for it. He saved this land whose evil CIA forces slayed him. And the ironic thing about Stone’s documentary is that he could find no US backers for his film and had to go to Arnold’s Old-World England to get the money to tell this inherently American story, which still doesn’t have a distributor in the United States..

Thirty years ago, his movie JFK was sabotaged by the CIA-controlled media as a fictional illusion, and now the truth is still verboten here.  But Stone will win out.  For his new work tells the same story but tells it straight with facts, the same facts, and more, that supported JFK in 1991.  And the facts tell an overwhelming tale of truth, not the nonsense still proffered by disinformation specialists that JFK was a war-monger, a phony, and a cold warrior to the end.  Those accusations are either lies or ignorance, as if the CIA would want to assassinate him if they were true.

JFK was murdered because he was trying to end the Cold War, eliminate nuclear weapons through negotiations with the Soviet Union, withdraw American military advisers from Vietnam, rein in the CIA, and reduce the power of the military industrial complex.  This is why he was killed. These are among what Stone calls “conspiracy facts,” and even as I look out at the wild Atlantic and try “to put America behind” me for a short respite, the wind fills my mind with their contemporary importance.

Stone is out front where you can see and hear him, while the CIA always operates behind our backs.

As I return to myself and my contemplation of the ocean, a lone fisherman approaches and passes me with a nod and a rod.  I soon see him disappear around the strand where the inlet flows like a strong river deep into the marshes.  Memory tells me Thoreau was right to say that “many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish that they are after.”

Thoreau knew he was always obsessively fishing for elusive truth and needed no bait, only his eyes and ears and the deep state he entered when he cast his pencil across the vastness of an empty page.

Oliver Stone, too, has spent his life chasing the light of truth to expose the crimes of another deep state, the despicable men who conspired to execute JFK, the man who many a day looked out upon these waters and saw a vision of a new country he hoped to bring to reality even at the risk of his life.  A country devoted to peace and domestic tranquility.

It is so beautiful where I sit.  The sun is breaking through the fog and blue patches stipple the heavens. Call it dreamy. Here the Nauset Indians fished these waters long before Thoreau.  Fishing for them was like the clam shells that litter the beach.  It was bifold, providing sustenance for body and soul, and their connection to the Cape eco-system was sacred. (I ask them for forgiveness for using the word eco-system.) This was long before the profane skepticism and faith in science of Arnold’s mind and times seeped in to poison land, water, and consciousness, not to mention human and animal bodies.

As I recall, “Dover Beach” was composed a few decades after the first generally accepted laboratory synthesis of a naturally occurring organic compound from inorganic materials. Only yesterday I saw many beachgoers spraying themselves with canisters of chemicals that are the offspring of that original synthetic creation that is called urea but which I call piss.  I don’t know what the Nausets called it, but I am sure they did what I did as I got up and pissed into the wind and water, hoping it wouldn’t come back to get me.  It was a relief, although my mind kept reeling backwards historically.

The white invaders – they like to be called explorers – led by Captain Thomas Hunt, arrived on the Cape in 1614 and captured seven Nausets together with twenty from the Pawtucket tribe and sold them into slavery.  There is so much US history that is hard to stomach. Thinking of the slaughter of native peoples from California to the New York island can only make a US American deeply ashamed.  When Woody Guthrie composed and sang “This Land Is Your Land,” I hope he had a double entendre in mind, for surely the shore I sit upon is soaked with the blood and tears of many an innocent soul whose land was stolen from them.

It is no exaggeration to say that from the enlarging sandbar the seals’ moans sound like restless ghosts. The wind carries their ancient calls like a Greek chorus above the crashing waves.  I feel as though I am attending a sacred rite that is both a funeral, a celebration, and a call to resist. The music haunts me.  My mind’s eye ebbs with the receding tide.  More sand bars emerge as the sun pierces the fog veiling the water and my mind.

Behind me across the narrow strip of land and Cape Cod Bay lies the city of Boston.  It was built to its current renown on the money made by its famous blue blood families through the opium trade that killed so many Chinese in the 19th century.  They were money-obsessed, bloodthirsty killers. I don’t think they warned the Chinese that they were being sold a drug pandemic.  You have heard their “illustrious” names: Forbes, Cabot, Cushing, Weld, Delano (the grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and Perkins.  These drug dealers laundered their massive drug profits by giving to Harvard, founding Massachusetts General Hospital, and creating Boston’s renown reputation for culture and education.

First the native Americans and then the Chinese and Vietnamese and Afghanis, et al. – it makes no difference whose blood was shed to create an elegant city upon a hill, a beacon of human benevolence – and to keep it going.  The beat goes on.  It is a war of drugs, foreign and domestic.  Follow the trail.

These “illustrious” families were also crucial in the founding of the CIA whose tentacles stretch their banking interests in black operations worldwide.  These are the criminals they like to call the Agency whose existence is sustained through drugs and blood.  Agents of death.

It is terrible to think such thoughts on this beautiful beach, but my forgettery seems to fail me when the wind is blowing from behind.

And to think the disinformation specialists doing the CIA’s bidding have for years tried to denigrate those Irish upstarts, the Kennedys, by falsely claiming Joseph Kennedy made his fortune in the illegal liquor business and in association with the Mob.  The CIA’s war on the Kennedys, and their murder of their leading men, is a multi-faceted operation, as Oliver Stone will show you.

Here on the beach the light now seems to be chasing me.  I look to my left and see a figure walking my way.  It is time for me to leave.  I turn and start walking north, back to civilization.  As the figure gets nearer, I see it’s a woman.  I gasp at the mask she is wearing.  No doubt she has taken the drug the authorities have told her was necessary to inject if she wanted to be safe and join the crowd.  The drug trade is where the money is. It runs on lies, but it brings power and glory and will anesthetize your fears until it is too late.  It’s not a new story, and it brings death.

We pass and she looks away.

I hear the laughing gulls and turn to see the seals standing on the waves howling in delight as they clap their flippers in applause.  I’m happy to laugh along.

In the distance I see a boat heading for land.

The wind off the water blows this Dylan song into my ears:

“When the Ship Comes in”

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 thoughts on “Trying to Put All America Behind”

  1. Once again I want to thank everyone who commented. It’s an amazing and brilliant group and I learn from you all and appreciate what you say. I read everything you write but have found it difficult in recent months to respond individually for many reasons. Please excuse that and know I am grateful.
    Pax,
    ED

  2. Ed, wonderful and salubrious — the first two or three paragraphs. When I came to the words “an endless propaganda war” I had to see if you had a new entry, to use (I hope not misuse) your Comments section to share the exceptional analysis below of the stepped-up disinformation assault on Nicaragua. You came through in my hour of need.

    https://www.telesurenglish.net/opinion/Nicaragua—Varieties-of-Neocolonial-Solidarity-20210707-0022.html?utm_source=planisys&utm_medium=NewsletterIngles&utm_campaign=NewsletterIngles&utm_content=32

    Now back to the National Seashore, the laughing gulls, the seals and whatever else.

    1. I returned after several interruptions to finish your unsurprisingly impeccable essay.

      First, though, a correction to my note above. On finishing that analysis of the barrage of disinformation on Nicaragua, I hoped for a new entry of yours I could use (or misuse) to recommend it. You came through.

      My first thought after rereading “Dover Beach” was of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell’s reply to a curbside fan at a parade he was walking in: “Keep the faith, baby!” He wouldn’t be defeated by the bullshit of his day.

      The Dylan song you concluded by linking to included “the whole wide world in watchin’.” It surely is, and with luck is figuring out how to navigate all the disinfo.

      I finished as well all other Comments and must say you are in great company. I think I learned from every single one, and to single out one would do injustice to the others.

      I haven’t seen the first of Oliver Stone’s JFK films so will take in that before trying to see the latest.

      Most of your entries are the same, Ed, in that each could be an enticing introduction to a syllabus for an elective course, or a major. You can take the instructor out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the instructor. I could go on, and on, but don’t want to bore.

  3. Thoreau, “a man of deep if unorthodox faith in the divine, telling us that most people are determined not to live by faith if they can help it”.

    And how true that is, especially perhaps now in this country where one can obtain insurance for almost any negative outcome and where the narrative of fear has become imbedded in the daily ration of indoctrination.

    Also, of course, we have the promise (from the WEF) that we can “own nothing and be happy” by 2030. Add “have no privacy” to that, and the formula is nearly complete. Freedom is just another word for “nothing left to lose.”

    The WEF planned Great Reset might be termed the ultimate insurance. If you own nothing, there can be no fear that you will lose it. If you are happy, the lack of privacy is moot.

    Of course, such happiness might come in the form of Soma, or perhaps in the team spirit of the two minutes hate. There is comfort in Groupthink. I do not think the WEF is referring to the happiness of the unfettered creative mind.

    And because we have been primed for the idea that insurance is needed, that we alone cannot possibly overcome the vicissitudes of life without leaning on the collective, many of us will find some solace there.

    Insurance is the faith that the current structure of society will endure. Because if it does not, such insurance will be meaningless.

    Certain kinds of insurance are required in the standard pursuit of the American Dream. If you buy a home, it must be insured against fire and normal hazards if you have a mortgage. If you put less than a minimum percentage down on the loan, the bank must have insurance against your default, for which you pay.

    It is required where I live to have insurance on any car you own. Over my lifetime, it has become increasingly necessary to have health insurance. This is a misnomer, however, as it does not guarantee health, only healthcare, with most of the bills for it paid if it is good insurance.

    But in the public realm, the lack of health insurance is regarded as evidence of poverty, to be redressed by any political party which cares about the poor. There is, however, no insurance against poor health or healthcare resulting from a profit-driven system based on a parasitic insurance industry and controlled by “philanthropic” foundations owned by historical eugenicists and aspiring world controllers.

    But faith in this transient human structure is not faith in God, to which I think Thoreau referred to in the quote. We seek the insurance from man because we have been convinced that God will not protect us. The lilies of the field are arrayed in finery greater than Solomon, but if his house burns down, the son of man has no place to lay his head.

    So we are compelled to spend what wealth we may have on insurance. Save as much as you can in the Wall Street casino, so that you will be provided for in old age!

    Never mind that your savings will eventually go toward paying the nursing home bills others have paid for them by Medicaid (a complaint of my late father) or be taken in a market crash that only the big players expect. Or the annuities purchased as insurance of future income come to fruition, but will buy little as a flood of new money is continually injected into the system, making the promised dollars from public or private sources nearly worthless.

    But that is the fate of those who put their faith in the insurance provided by human commerce. That insurance is a poor substitute for living by faith, which most of us work our entire lives to avoid.

  4. Thank you Ed for another small gentle gem of insight and humanity. We need it. I need it. The fear mongering is now so pervasive that it seems to now have just become white noise in the background – “be afraid, be very afraid, at all times.” So glad to hear Oliver Stone has a new documentary on JFK coming out. That is a bit of good news to look forward to.

    Your walk with Thoreau brought back memories from my last two years of high school, 1968-1970, when I carried a tattered copy of the combined works Civil Disobedience and Walden Pond with me, classroom to classroom, almost as a talisman of some sort helping me to somehow ward off the pro-Vietnam war madness that permeated the small town culture I lived in. I would read a paragraph here and there between classes to help steel me against the inane “school spirit” + “America love it or leave it” insanity that prevailed in my small world. Our local parish priest gave regular sermons supporting the sanctity of that amoral bloodbath and thus encouraged young men my age to enlist and fight in the Church’s latest “Crusade” against the non-believers.

    As a confused and searching 17-18 year-old – Thoreau’s words – “In an unjust society the only place for a just man is prison” – helped give me both courage and the moral compass to follow my own conscience, rather than join in with the rather rabid mindless crowd bellowing for more war – along with of course the victory of our high school football team. Thank you Ed for reminding me of that very important fork in the road I encountered so many years ago, and for the good guidance Thoreau offered me when I needed it so.

    1. Great comment Gary. James DiEugenio has also written a great book about JFK called “Destiny Betrayed”. I highly recommend it.

      “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”- Krishnamurti

      1. Thanks for the recommendation Skip. I’ll add DiEugenio’s book to the reading list. I’m currently halfway through Shoshana Zuboff’s “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” and my heads spinning in response to how unaware I’ve somehow been of the true extent of influence and impact of the big tech companies who now censoring all challenges to the official covid narratives. Amazing research and analysis.

        1. Thanks Gary. I’ll check it out. I’m currently reading Diana Johnstone’s memoir “Circle in the Darkness”.

          1. Diana’s memoir is wonderful. I’d always admired her, but that respect deepened after seeing a glimpse into the life she lived.

          1. Thanks Lorie, I knew there was another book title on the topic that I’d come across, hadn’t read yet, but wanted to. I’ll find that one, though I doubt it will be at our local library.

  5. Here is another brilliant piece by Ed, and though it will take me some time to fully digest, it offers a hint as to what must be done by those with some understanding of where obedience and attention to the “agency” and its ilk has led us.

    That is the America we need to put all of behind us, to find a new America – a new world of hope and promise. As the current powers seek to empty western culture of its content to make more room for the religion of the state, the state which, as always, reserves the right to re-write history to conform to its rapacious desires, abandoning caution as its size and power increases, we need to empty ourselves of the poison which has been dripped like a drug into the veins of our minds.

    On the beach and facing the ocean, in the middle of the woods, boating down the river. There are any number of places and activities and non-activities where we can go to unplug, or as one popular advocate of preparedness says, “Come out of her, my people.”

    We want to save everyone, but in order to save even ourselves we must separate ourselves mentally, spiritually, and if possible, physically. We have to love truth more than convenience and social acceptance. Because most people are going to choose the latter, and of those many will be the surveillance arms of the state. Tyranny only works when people accept it and defend it, and become it.

    It works more easily if the other is sufficiently different from ourselves and located far away. It held most of us under its sway when its target was strange foreign people in distant lands, only rarely taking out opposition figures at home and no longer requiring mandatory participation in the carnage abroad.

    We don’t know what form the budding totalitarian state will take, though we see the nature of its tools, as it divides men from women, black from white, red from blue, rich from poor, young from old, and adds new lines of division like gene modified from unmodified.

    Thoreau was a lover of nature and raw experience, not the busyness of business. But he was not entirely withdrawn from society, sometimes running afoul of the law, and once memorably jailed for not paying taxes to support a war and slavery.

    Some of us will no doubt run into similar problems before this is over. Society does not make it easy to withdraw from it. As what has been served up to the world for the last century is turned on private citizens at home, many will keep quiet as long as the targets have ideas we disagree with. Surely, out team will be safe! We don’t think like those people! Meanwhile, a way of thinking and talking becomes illegal in the land of the first amendment.

    Many will actually facilitate tyranny, helpfully informing on those not conforming to new requirements. Science, a methodology for seeking the truth, becomes a static, sanctioned dogma designed to conceal it. This spreads to all applications of science, including medicine.

    While respecting Thoreau’s stance in his time, I still hope to avoid the incarceration he briefly experienced and to successfully unplug and find like-minded folks away from the organized madness. But when we consider the scope just of what is being said by those who claim to know (and what sorts of things are being left unsaid), we might have to ask ourselves at some point in that journey away from the world of drugs and blood and slavery, “Why am I not in jail?”

    But these days it would not be a night in the local jail, and release when someone pays the tax for us. Incarceration is big business these days and the justice system a black hole drawing in anyone who enters the event horizon. So put it all behind you and run the other way.

  6. Beautiful essay. Thanks Ed. One small editorial note: you should have used “rein”, not “reign.” I’ve made the same mistake many times myself, and spellcheck doesn’t catch it.

  7. “It is very hard to put the United States of America behind you when the fog of an endless propaganda war warps your mind and tries to crush your spirit…”

    “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson-

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines…
    Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson-

    “Build therefore your own world”
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson-

    “Gaiety is a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the machine.”
    -Denis Diderot-

  8. I have never been to America, but I sense a great sadness there at the impending death of a bad thing. As contradictory as that sounds, there is the undeniable nostalgic longing for “good old days” when truly terrible things were started and done.
    I think Wyoming is probably a very beautiful place, if only it weren’t in the USA.

    1. You nailed it.
      I think what has changed mainly is awareness of the massive propaganda that has infiltrated Americans’ lives, for centuries.
      It perhaps seems worse as we become more aware of the massive lies we have been bombarded with, from most every single “notable” institution and entertainment & media outlet.

      Youth often has the advantage of the bliss of ignorance.

      The promise of America was founded on the myth of Cockaigne.
      Born from medieval myth, a supposed land of plenty , an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist.
      “Settlers” were often recruited using this myth (check old British ads trying to entice people to make the journey).
      Recruited by corporations simply to extend & grow their trade.

      Wyoming is beautiful, if not for the pseudo-conservative groupthink, and the fact that the neo-feudal Lords are being financed by a government of corporatism, and gaining ever more wealth, land & power in the process.
      Vermont also is quite beautiful, if not for the pseudo-liberal groupthink, and the fact that the same neo-feudal Lords are being financed by a government of corporatism, and gaining ever more wealth, land & power in the process.
      Each at the expense of the serfs.

      The U.S. has come full-circle, back from whence its Founders sought to escape in Europe. (read Cato’s Letters, often regarded as amongst the most influential writings of American Founders & Patriots).

      1. Re Wyoming and Vermont, you can’t be anywhere where you’re 100 percent. Be ANYwhere, in a one-room apartment with the best of your books, and be kind to everyone you meet, and do your best and have fun.

  9. Beautiful. And made all the more poignant by the fact that our freedom of movement has been (and continues to be) denied, unless and until we comply with some medical kabuki theater ritual. Maybe even then.

  10. Thank you Edward…, I feel your words and your feelings. I am also saddened, perplexed, afraid and absolutely disgusted with the present events ! I have fought oppression all my life, starting with my dysfunctional family, having to go into the military in the late 60’s, then returning to the violence we call living and for this only to become worse…, And now…, ?

  11. Stunning, truly. Prior to this beautiful — and troubling — essay, in the early hours of this morning, I’d been continuing (and savoring…) your newest book; it brought this seventy-two-year-old grandmother to tears, as I was reading the incredibly poignant section on those letters between Khrushchev and JFK, after Vienna. My…There are no words to describe the depth of depression I felt, as I wrote in my side notes: “What we lost…” If I may indulge in a quick backstory: I had the exquisite pleasure, and lasting, heartfelt honor, of having met Robert F. Kennedy not once, but twice. The first of our meetings was at a restaurant in Babylon (I was raised in Blue Point, L.I., not far from there); R.F.K. was to be there (I’d read in “Newsday”) for a scheduled campaign stop/lunch, in the fall of ’64. I had taken a public bus, so as to assure arriving at the front steps of the unopened eatery at 7:30a.m. (This was, as you know, in the days before security was tight…bitterly ironic statement); so, I was able to save, as well as savor, my spot as eager door opener for him, which I made sure to be. (The four hours of waiting “was as nothing,” to me…) Shortly after his arrival, he approached the door; I’ve no doubt I opened it with a long-planned, dramatic flourish! Ever gracious and caring, he made sure to pause long enough to say a few words to this impressionable, enamored girl; I treasured that morning for many years, and still hold it in my heart. To make this life of mine even more rewarding, I was to meet and talk with him again, when I was a senior; this few minutes occurred just outside his senatorial office in D.C.,; he spoke with me to thank me for coming (with my classmates; we were a small group, studying American Government, in the public h.s. I attended; we’d all saved money to help pay for this class trip.) I teased him about 4700 Chain Bridge Road (I’d learned his address from a distant friend of mine, who was in possession of that precious detail, so I “trotted it out,” and no doubt made some silly comment, mercifully forgotten!) I had been absolutely devastated by the loss of JFK, in the first semester of my freshman year in high school; he’d become an iconic father figure for me; (my own father, a formerly well-known author and professor of English, had died of alcoholism; he’d been found on the Bowery, seeking shelter in a doorway during a brutal city snowstorm; I’d been too little to have any memory of him.) The snowstorm which left the bitterest barb in my heart became, over my long life, the one which framed the inaugural speech of the young John F. Kennedy, when I was not quite twelve. It was while watching that, that I’d become somehow drawn to him; eagerly rushing home from school on his press conference days, I’d feel, in my adolescent narcissism, that I was having my cookies and milk “with him.” In those first, horrific months after the assassination, I became single-mindedly determined to — somehow — meet Robert Kennedy. I remember when he, too, was “removed,” those mere five years later; I couldn’t even look at the television, for days; my mom seemed not to understand my feelings and reaction — a common teen lament, I know, but…what I was experiencing — I now, deeply, feel — was P.T.S.D.; to what degree I have the right to claim, I’ve no idea; I do know, however, that your book continues to pierce me to my very core, with its incredibly insightful perspectives on these two unfathomable losses (as well as, of course, those of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, for the same reasons the Kennedys were destroyed.) You and I are kindred spirits, and are joined by so many others who will read your words and know that they have truly found a kindred spirit, Mr. Curtin. They, and I, shall forever be in your debt.

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