This is an interesting bit of work. Handbills like this were being handed out in Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas the day before John F. Kennedy was shot and killed there by one or more assassins.
What makes it interesting to me is how clearly there is a parallel between this handwaving, paranoid nonsense and the handwaving, paranoid nonsense we see from knuckle-draggers like Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly these days, although it must be said that O’Reilly appears to have seen the writing on the wall and scaled back his rhetoric considerably in the last few months.
It also must be said that when Bill O’Reilly is the voice of reason on your news network, you do not have a news network.
Anyway, note the clear parallels. Accusations of being unpatriotic and treasonous, of betrayal and malfeasance. “Red-baiting,” in which OMGCOMMIES are used as the universal boogie-man much like OMGTERRORISTS today (although “communists” and “socialists” are both still used frequently).
I find bullet points 6 and 7 to be particularly interesting. Point is pure xenophobia, and relies heavily on religious prejudice (the word “Anti-Christian” appears twice in a seventeen-word sentence) and other “not-like-us” groups "(“Aliens and known Communists”). Ironically, this same handbill in point 1 lists Castro’s Cuba as a “friend” who has been “betrayed” by Kennedy. This demonstrates exactly the same level of abject ignorance that we see today as people claim that President Obama is, for instance, a Muslim. The reality is that Castro’s Cuba was communist at this time, and had been since Castro’s 26th of July Movement merged with other Cuban political groups, including their Popular Socialist Party. While there was no official label of ‘communism’ until 1965, even a moment’s familiarity with Cuban history would have revealed this logical conflict. So we have a broadside that in one paragraph criticizes Kennedy for employing or sympathizing with “communists,” even while in another paragraph it criticizes him for fighting against a communist regime.
Exactly in the manner of current right-wing nutjobs and talking heads, the point here is that it doesn’t matter if what you say is consistent or makes sense or even avoids self-contradiction; so long as we can be PISSED OFF AT THAT GUY.
The other thing I wanted to point out was item 7, in which we find that just as Obama has his “birthers,” Kennedy had his “wifers.” Apparently there was an assertion popular among the bat guano contingent that Kennedy had secretly been married and divorced prior to is marriage to Jacqueline. We look at this some fifty years later and think, “what? are these people insane?!” This is precisely the reaction that the “Obama wasn’t born in the US” assertion will generate in 2060.
The difference here is that the handbill I’ve replicated above was considered to be the fringe radical ignorance of kooks, whackos, nutjobs, and shrieking buffoons in 1963.
In 2010, it’s mainstream news.
And you’re buying it.