The year was 1960. As a ten year old boy living in Northeast Philadelphia, I suppose I was beginning to learn the ways of the world. My father, known as Big John, took me to my first Phillies game that year and true to form, they lost. That was the year of the famous Kennedy vs. Nixon debates and the Presidential election.
It’s funny how you remember certain things in your life but you can’t remember what you had for dinner last Tuesday.
Here, some 57 years ago, I distinctly remember a knock on our door. It was our neighbor Jules Craiter. Jules was a very good neighbor but a bit eccentric and had just gotten into politics. He was the Republican committeeman in our neighborhood and his job was to do two things. Register EVERYONE Republican in the neighborhood and CONVINCE them to vote for Nixon.
Talk about a tough job. This was a blue collar neighborhood, strictly Democratic. Mr. Craiter went on to tell my mother and father a story of how JFK had fleeced an Italian/Catholic in Chicago back in 1956.
My father, a very quiet man, said nothing….let him talk, thanked him for coming over and when he left said to my mother…”He’s nuts.” Imagine two devout Catholics like my mother and father NOT voting for JFK in 1960. Never would happen but Mr. Craiter put on the smear campaign anyway and continued to come around after that with other stories. My mother and father always let him in, let him talk , and then proceeded to shut the door and go about their business. Yes they voted for Kennedy in 1960 and we know the outcome of that election.
In recent weeks, we’ve heard all kinds of stories about Colin Bell, how he was a “vulture capitalist” and how he potentially took homes from struggling people. Like the Kennedy story that was told to my parents, this too was a fabrication.
The question that comes to mind is why can’t we get the truth particularly in political elections. Why can’t we find out the real story about the candidates. It works both ways.
We hear that Vince Sera raised taxes in Brigantine. Vince was on my show and stated he lowered taxes in Brigantine, yet we hear the opposite. How can we know the true positions of each candidate? How can we determine with the information we receive which one is best suited to represent us? A question I’ve pondered since 1960 and one that future generations will most likely struggle with as well. That’s why I’ve always tried to present both sides on my radio show.
I’ll continue to do that until someone goes out of their way to silence me.
John DeMasi hosts a weekly talk show on WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Fm. The show is called “Talk with a Purpose” and is heard every Saturday from 9am-12N