We don’t quarrel with the fact that there was a radical right in Dallas. It was here.
But we take issue with McAuley’s false premises and stereotypes regarding what Dallas is like today. Most of all, we disagree with his assertion that Dallas is still not coming to terms with the magnitude of the events that took place here 50 years ago this week.***
Can a city be held responsible for the terrible act of one or even a few wrongdoers?
Anniston knows a thing or two about this.
As we near the 50th anniversary of President John Kennedy's assassination, the city of Dallas will once again wrestle with this question.
In Sunday's New York Times, James McAuley writes where he stands on the question:
For 50 years, Dallas has done its best to avoid coming to terms with the one event that made it famous: the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. That’s because, for the self-styled “Big D,” grappling with the assassination means reckoning with its own legacy as the “city of hate,” the city that willed the death of the president.
McAuley takes note of the extremism shared by many of Dallas' upper crust:
Those “men of Dallas” — men like my grandfather, oil men and corporate executives, self-made but self-segregated in a white-collar enclave in a decidedly blue-collar state — often loathed the federal government at least as much as, if not more than, they did the Soviet Union or Communist China. ...
For those men, Kennedy was a veritable enemy of the state, which is why a group of them would commission and circulate “Wanted for Treason” pamphlets before the president’s arrival and fund the presciently black-rimmed “Welcome Mr. Kennedy” advertisement that ran in The Dallas Morning News on the morning of Nov. 22. ...
The wives of these men — socialites and homemakers, Junior Leaguers and ex-debutantes — were no different; in fact, they were possibly even more extreme.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy said McAuley's oped was a bit of a stretch:
— Bud Kennedy (@BudKennedy) November 17, 2013
Meanwhile, John J. Miller at National Review's blog The Corner writes that McAuley is "the latest liberal to do his best to avoid coming to terms with the one fact that everyone must remember about JFK’s murder: Lee Harvey Oswald was a Castro-loving Commie."