The assassination of John F Kennedy means that we all get to decide how his story should have ended, and thus plot an alternative trajectory for the country he so fleetingly led. The events in Dallas exactly 50 years ago made JFK as much a myth as a man, one of history's most endlessly malleable figures.
The puzzle of America today: the plutocrats have never been richer, and their economic power continues to grow, but the populists, the wilder the better, are taking over. The rise of the political extremes is most evident, of course, in the domination of the Republican Party by the Tea Party and in the astonishing ability of this small group to shut down the American government.
President Barack Obama’s state-of-the-world speech before the United Nations General Assembly did not mention any Latin American country, and virtually omitted the region as a whole. It was a major mistake, but it shouldn’t surprise us.
The United States is becoming a dysfunctional country: politically, it’s lurching from one embarrassment to the next, but economically and technologically, it’s rising at an amazing speed.
It’s no wonder that protesters in Brazil are holding signs reading “more education, less soccer,” or that there are constant teacher strikes in Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Mexico — Latin American schoolteachers are among the most miserably paid in the world.