Los Angeles, California (JFK+50) Fifty-three years ago this evening, November 18, 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke out against right-wing extremists such as those represented by the John Birch Society* and the Minutemen**.
Speaking at the Hollywood Palladium***, the President said...
"Now we are face to face once again with a period of heightened peril. The risks are great and under the strains...the discordant voices of extremism are heard.
There have always been those fringes of our society who have sought to escape their own responsibility by finding a simple solution, an appealing slogan, or a convenient scapegoat.
They call for a 'man on horseback' because they do not trust the people. They equate the Democratic Party with the welfare state, the welfare state with socialism and socialism with communism."****
While JFK was speaking, a crowd of 3000 pickets were outside the Palladium holding up signs which read...
UNMUZZLE THE MILILTARY! and DISARMAMENT IS SUICIDE!
The President concluded his remarks with these words...
"Let our patriotism be reflected on the creation of confidence rather than the crusades of suspicion and remember that, however serious the outlook, the one great irreversible trend in world history is on the side of liberty."
*The John Birch Society was founded on Dec 9, 1958 by Robert W. Welch, Jr. It opposed all communist or socialist principles. In early 1961, the JBS had more than 60,000 members.
**The Minutemen believed communists were in the process of taking over America in the early 1960s. Led by Robert Bolivar DePugh, they physically armed themselves for battle.
***Hollywood Palladium, located on Sunset Boulevard was built in 1940 on the site of the original Paramount Studio Lot. In 1961, it was the home of the Lawrence Welk Television Show.
****Edward M. Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News, had previously attacked JFK at a White House luncheon for 'riding Caroline's tricycle' instead of being 'a man on horseback.'