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Aborted History

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Maybe it’s just the time of year, or perhaps it’s the History Channel’s documentary series The Men Who Assassinated the President, but the ballot battle in Florida is somehow strangely reminiscent of the Kennedy assassination.

Despite hundreds and hundreds of pages of documentation in the Warren Commission Report, many people believe that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have acted alone in shooting President John F. Kennedy. Oswald appears as a patsy who may or may not have had a larger role in a conspiracy to kill the president. The fact that Oswald was shot to death shortly after the assassination by Jack Ruby seems too convenient. Oswald’s side of the story, of course, never came out. Ruby died shortly thereafter of cancer. Both Oswald and Ruby may have had ties to the CIA.

Certainly, JFK and his brother Bobby, who served the president as attorney general, had their share of enemies. Among them were disaffected Cuban exiles who were angry with JFK for pulling back air support in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Also linked to that group were CIA officials and operatives who saw JFK growing soft on U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Not lastly, the mob and its connections to organized labor had been under attack by Bobby Kennedy. And both the mob and labor believed they were instrumental in getting JFK elected. Not lastly, there was Fidel Castro himself, who had dodged a number of assassination attempts believed to be sponsored by the CIA.

The Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald fired two shots that killed the president and wounded then-Texas Gov. John Connelly just doesn’t add up.

What does all that have to do with the Florida balloting? Well, not much, except that what’s going on there doesn’t add up, either, and we will probably never know what actually transpired. There simply are too many questions without answers. And despite some 24 lawsuits that have been filed surrounding the Florida vote, we may never get those answers to determine who really won.

Why were some of the ballots dimpled but not pushed all the way through? How could that happen? Why did the machine counts and the hand counts of the ballots yield such different numbers? How many ballots simply disappeared without being counted or disqualified?

There is a lot of high-powered maneuvering going on in Florida. There is a lot at stake for politicians and their powerful supporters who aren’t visible on TV or in the newspapers. All the scurrying about reminds at least one editor of the aftermath of the JFK assassination. And the result may be similar: We’ll never really know what happened.

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