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Remembering JFK and Samson

Fri, Nov. 22, 2013 Posted: 03:41 AM


I am of a generation constrained to remember John F. Kennedy as a golden charismatic personality, larger than life …a kind of perfect messiah of the American Civil Rights struggle and model of leadership to embrace … until I studied and saw some of the biographies and documentaries. I have always thought biographies are a bad idea - if they are to be truthful - as they will only depict the best of most but the rarest of men, as mere clay … weak and always more brittle than they would have wanted to be remembered. JFK was luckier than most to be always pictured as a youthful smiling ageless tower brought down before any serious cracks were permitted to show. Like Christ, perhaps it is better for life to be shorter and impactful …but we are never certain which will be our best years …for some like Winston Churchill, the peak moments came in their sixties. Samson also did not live for long.

Unravelling Presidential assassinations tend to be like driving in a thick fog … the inability to try murdered suspects only further thickens imagined plots as to what happened. Leadership models have no ready casts for JFK, the “playboy” President who openly paraded his dalliances while the elegant Jacqueline hugged her horses and lavish evening gowns wondering if God would answer again her prayers … even as Marilyn Monroe is reported to have overdosed with pills. Samson’s Delilah lived longer.

Samson like JFK was a rake who defied leadership logic in exceeding performance expectations. Samson broke the rules and yet as a Judge still performed his role so well in the defeat of Israel’s enemies ... doing many good things … fighting many successful battles … bringing more of the enemies of Israel down in his death than in his life. For JFK, the monster of civil rights oppression was arguably dealt a more decisive blow than the defeated Philistines in the time of Samson. But like Samson … the death bullet may also have been sponsored by those who needed to avenge JFKs brilliant culture victories and who found a suitable “Delilah”. That Samson was brought down by his lack of self-control is openly known … as eventually Delilah hands him over to the Philistines or political mafia. The lesson is to identify that area of weakness and deal with it with decisive effort before the fatal strike. This may be pride, a preening over confident surefootedness … Delilah could manifest through a sexual appetite, an uncontrollable temper or a serpentine cunning and duplicity masked under well cut suits. Delilah – the destroyer’s tool - may not be evident to onlookers but is well known to all leaders who will be eventually cut down. Note that Delilah is only a tool of the Philistines … her “love” is a weapon trained to weaken and uncover its victim for a future assassination.

Monroe did not bring down JFK. Though very seriously ill, disease did not also cut down JFK … but something else did. I think God permitted this enigma as to motive to remind us of the array of possibilities that can bring down a leader … the sponsors of murder could have been the ally of an embittered and discarded lover, friend of Cubans who never forgave the attempt on the life of Fidel Castro, the underground mafia or the political and economic titans accustomed to civil oppression against African Americans … or perhaps a lone crank. Even If my parallel to Samson works and JFK had a potent Delilah, the political machinery was too smooth to have it ever discovered … even till today … turning his death to one of the greatest unsolved crime mysteries.

Jdg 14:7  And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.

Be watchful for what pleases you well that God says you cannot do or have. The end never justifies the means. Modern leaders all over the world can learn from the Biblical tradition which declares …you cannot rule well unless you are well ruled. Leaders should also fear God. Still the world salutes the greatness of the 35th President of the United States of America who was murdered 50 years ago....November 22, 1963.

olabode ososami