再论肯尼迪

美国剑桥—11月22日是约翰·肯尼迪总统遇刺50周年纪念日。对于生活在当时的人来说,这是一桩令人惊心动魄的事件,你能够清楚地记得听到这个消息时在干什么。我是在内罗毕下火车时看到这则爆炸新闻的标题的。

肯尼迪在达拉斯被刺是年仅46岁。行刺者是一名变节投靠苏联的心怀不满的前海军军人,名叫奥斯瓦尔德(Lee Harvey Oswald)。尽管饱受疾病困扰,但肯尼迪一直以年轻强壮的形象示人,这让他的死平添了几分戏剧性和悲壮。

殉难使得许多美国人把肯尼迪拔高到与乔治·华盛顿和亚伯拉罕·林肯等伟大总统相同高度;但历史学家的评价更加克制。批评家指出,肯尼迪有时管不住裤裆;他的立法记录并不怎么样;许下的承诺也没有做到。尽管肯尼迪大谈公民权利、减税和消除贫困,但利用肯尼迪的殉难以及自身更令人印象深刻的政治技巧在这些领域取得历史性立法突破的乃是肯尼迪的继任者林登·约翰逊。

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