Americans continue to distrust the government, although there are signs that hostility toward government has begun to diminish. There is also considerable evidence that distrust of government is strongly connected to how people feel about the overall state of the nation.
Today, personal satisfaction is soaring, the economy is thriving and confidence in state and local governments is growing, but neither satisfaction with the condition of the country nor confidence in the federal government has been transformed. The national mood and trust are both up from the mid-1990s, but still just 20% of Americans are highly satisfied with the state of the nation and only 34% basically trust the government.
Is it a coincidence that there same statistics are cited year after year, that only 20% of the people believe the government’s Warren Commission Report that President Kennedy was killed by one man alone? And 80% believe there was a conspiracy that the government continues to cover-up?
It’s pretty clear that the distrust in government didn’t begin with the Tea Partys, but with the assassination of the President in November 1963.
At noon on Sunday, November 22, 1998, COPA board member, and Washington D.C. attorney Dan Alcorn began the memorial service at Dealey Plaza.
Dan Alcorn : The federal board – The JFK Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) discovered that many of the records have been destroyed, and we do not have a complete record. Yet we have a much more of a documentary record than we have had ever before.
There’s a memorial down on the street that has a quotation from the bible: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
That quote is also enscribed on the wall of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in McLean, Virginia, so there is a commonality of thought there. Many of us are here today because we have never believed that the government has told us the truth about the assassination, and we believe that unless we know the truth, we are not free.
Unless we know the truth about these events we are not a free people and we have not been a free people as long as we have been lied to about the events that occured here. The spirt of our commemorative event is to take those words to heart, and until we know the truth and the full truth of what occured in the street before us today on a day very much like today, a clear, sunny day in the fall of 1963.
On behalf of our organization I will make a challenge to you. Everyone here must be here because you care very deeply about the meaning of this event and what it means to our history as a nation. I will make the challenge to you to join us in our efforts in seeking the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy. And not just the truth as pieced together by citizens who put in the time and effort to this, but to actually cause the government to tell the truth about this event, and for the government to come forward and give us a full and truthful acounting of what happened here in 1963. Otherwise, we in fact are not the free people we want to be, have been and we should be as a nation.
You know, it is a crime for a citizen of this country to tell a lie to a federal investigator, but it is not a crime for your government to lie to you. And we feel this is an unfair relationship. If it’s a crime for us to lie to our government, it should be a crime for us t o lie as well.
It is in that spirit of investigation and of honest inquiry that our organization has worked closely with the Assassinations Records Review Board to get materials out. They ran into an obstructive wall of secrecy at the federal agencies. They told us thet they ran into a Cold War system of secrecty that refused to relent on the documents and information as it related to this event. And this was thirty-five years after the event occured, and after a federal board was set up by the Congress to try to get information released about what happened here.
So we call on you to join us in our efforts. We think that great nations and civilizations cannot survive the kinds of doubt and turmoil that have been raised by the events that happened here. If you study the history of great civilizations you will find that when they lost their way in terms of truth, self-governing, democratic and republican institutions began their decline and was one of the reasons for their ultimate colapse. We do not want the decline and decay of our public and political system. We want to be a part of a healthy revival of those institutions.
We have experienced a decline in the public’s trust in government since November,1963, a blimp in the charts that notes the significance of these events. Today a majority of people don’t even bother to vote. The largest turnout of voters in American history was in 1960. The decline in public confidence in the government began with the ambush at Dealey Plaza and has continually declined since then. These trends are very troubling.
So we ask you to join us and support the effort we have started to try to pursue the truth of these events, to try to pursue credability, honesty and openness on behalf of our governmental institutions. And by that effort to try to turn our nation in a healthy direction, to build stronger democratic institutions, to build a stronger faith between the pubic and its government. We feel that is essential, and we call on you as free citizens of this nation to join us in that effort.