By MARC MCDONALD
Welcome to another edition of Progressive Music Classics.
Today's selection is Lou Reed's heartbreaking "The Day John Kennedy Died," which appeared on Reed's 1982 masterpiece album, The Blue Mask.
A lot of cultural and social critics have written that America lost its innocence on November 22, 1963. That may be the case. In this song, Reed seems to be saying that we lost our idealism as well, as a nation and as a people.
Like many of us, Reed yearns for the ability to somehow turn back the clock and reverse the horror of JFK's death: a watershed moment from which America never really recovered. (And frankly, it's pretty much been all downhill for the U.S. since then).
I realize that it's easy to romanticize Camelot and to build Kennedy up as this mythic Progressive Hero. But if you think that's naive, consider that Kennedy was very likely killed by the Military Industrial Complex. He made some very powerful enemies, so clearly, he must have been doing something right.
Of course, these days, America's Rich & Powerful no longer have to resort to assassinating our leaders. They simply make sure that whoever wins the White House is bought and paid for long before the oath of office is ever administered.