Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Santa Claus, Jesus Christ and Lee Harvey Oswald

Today is November 22, another day closer to the holidays and a date which seemingly diminishes in importance in the eyes of Americans with each passing year. This date, however, marks the birth of the great American myth, the magnitude and belief of which rivals those of the nativity of Jesus Christ and the midnight appearance in living rooms the world over by a jolly, fat philanthropist, ostensibly by way of the chimney flue. The difference between these three fairy tales is that, of the three, only one can be, and has been, proven to be entirely based on fiction.

The great American myth is, that on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, hidden in a sixth floor window above Dealey Plaza single-handedly changed the face of American politics and policy.

Belief in the American myth relies on the same human traits which foster belief in all things supernatural. When we are afraid of the unknown, we make things up that allow us to feel good, or we gladly adopt theories that have been made up for us. We humans are an exceptionally lazy species. Facing the truth requires not only courage, that rarest of all human traits, but also thought. It is infinitely less taxing to accept propaganda as truth, than to think with discernment and to arrive at a logical conclusion based on facts. Facts can be unpleasant and contrary to a world view that allows us to sleep soundly. The truth is that the world is round and, as we sleep, somewhere on this ever-shrinking planet, there are forces hard at work trying to kill us. There are also forces hard at work trying to bring about the ultimate success and survival of mankind. But either scenario is too much to bear for most humans and so we sleep through the night, having said our prayers and clinging to whatever faith gives us comfort.

The American myth of Lee Harvey Oswald differs from the myths of Santa Claus and Jesus Christ in a most compelling way. The existence of Lee Harvey Oswald as a real person can be proven by facts. Those facts give us a detailed history of the man and his actions which is an impossibility where it concerns the other two personages. If we examine a number of items in the lives of the three myths we would find the following:

Legal proof of birth...

Lee Harvey Oswald, yes

Santa Claus, questionable at best

Jesus Christ, entirely a matter of blind faith in virgin birth.

Proof of attendance at an accredited school...

Lee Harvey Oswald, has the records to prove it.

Santa Claus, no records on file.

Jesus Christ, no schools in the area and busing had not yet become fashionable.

Records of military service...

Lee Harvey Oswald, Records exist reflecting service in the United States Marine Corps.

Santa Claus, no records but was rumored to have been a conscientious objector.

Jesus Christ, military experience was limited to turning over a few money tables with twelve unemployed homeless men in tow. Very small scale gang activities, really.

Known place of residence...

Lee Harvey Oswald, a list of his addresses exists in the files of the FBI, the CIA, the IRS and a host of alphabetized government organizations.

Santa Claus, reportedly resides at the north pole although satellite photography does not bear this out.

Jesus Christ, According to legend, lived with his parents at an unknown locale and spent the last three years of his life "sponging".


Lee Harvey Oswald, records of employment exist.

Santa Claus, professional gift giver. Also thought to keep herds of reindeer and elves.

Jesus Christ, unsuccessful carpenter who turned to the pulpit for his daily bread. Proof still outstanding.

Proof of death...

Lee Harvey Oswald, documented on national television and witnessed by millions as it happened.

Santa Claus, spuriously reported to still be hard at work although this would be in violation of mandatory age-related retirement laws.

Jesus Christ, No body has ever been found. There are eye-witness statements that he took it to heaven with him but none of these eye-witnesses have come forward for questioning, nor could their current whereabouts be established.

There we have a brief summary of the available statistical evidence. Isn't it curious that every detail in the life of the central character of the American myth is substantiated by facts notably absent in the biographical statistics furnished on behalf of Santa and Jesus. Now let us examine the acts of the subjects of these three myths and see if there is a pattern of deception.

Once a year, on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus loads his bag of toys onto a sleigh which is drawn, through the sky mind you, by flying reindeer. Through some sort of time-suspension mechanism, he manages to visit every single household on the planet and leaves gifts for the good little children. For the bad children he leaves a stick and a lump of coal. None of this has been proven. There have been ashy footprints evidenced leading from fireplace to Christmas tree but in every case these were found to match shoes hidden in the master bedroom closet. Forensic studies should also reveal red fibers clinging to fireplace walls or reindeer dung on rooftops. None have been found. We can only conclude that the vast majority believe in Santa Claus because they simply choose to do so. It just feels good.

Jesus Christ was supposed to have fed thousands of hungry devotees with three fish and five loaves of bread...or was it five fish and three loaves of bread. Either way, the ratio of hungry devotees to food would indicate that the fish were actually sperm whales or that the devotees were well-fed circus midgets devoid of appetite. He also was reported to have turned water to wine. Any self-respecting frat-boy has transformed his share of beer into water so it doesn't seem to be a miracle of world-changing proportions to accomplish the reverse. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead...of course he did!Where is he? Why won't he show himself? Any pictures? Jesus got into some trouble with the wrong people and they crucified him. Here is the punch line to the entire myth of Jesus. After being dead for three days, he paraded around showing his wounds to the members of his gang and then casually floated up to heaven saying, "I'll be Back." Savior?...or decide.

Lee Harvey Oswald shot John Kennedy. This is what is believed by many rational people. People who have cars, use cel phones and don't bark at vacuum cleaners. People who in all other respects act like sane, thinking human beings. Analyzing all or even a portion of the evidence to the contrary would be far beyond the scope of my argument. There is so much evidence and there are so many volumes written on the subject that a seeker of the truth will find all the truth he is willing to seek. In asking the question of whether Oswald did indeed shoot kennedy, I will focus on only two items which, when taken together, prove beyond doubt that the myth of the kennedy assassination is just as factual as the existence of Santa Claus and the immortality of Jesus Christ.

Item one, on the evening of his arrest and interrogation by the Dallas Police, Oswald's face and hands were examined and tested for the presence of gun powder residue. None was found. Oswald had not fired a gun that day and yet he stood accused of killing Dallas Police officer Tippet at close range as well as shooting the President in a still to be duplicated feat of marksmanship.

Item two, the rifle identified as the murder weapon was virtually "un-aimable" as it was found. The sights were out of adjustment to the point that it would have been impossible to shoot with any degree of accuracy much less for it to have been the actual murder weapon.

These are only two items, and yet these two items stand alone as proof that the fairy tale of Lee Harvey Oswald is a sham. No-one can prove that Santa Claus exists, but the relatively harmless story lives on because no-one can prove that he doesn't. There is not a shred of proof in the existence of the man called Jesus. But because of the dearth of proof to the contrary, the story of his life has inspired peace, love, death and destruction in relatively equal measure for two thousand years.

But the myth that was born forty-three years ago today is not fogged by the mist of time or the inaccuracies of ancient translations. The truth is the truth regardless of our belief. Some of us sleep easier knowing that Rudolph will soon land on the roof. Some of us sleep in the arms of a belief in an afterlife walking hand-in-hand with Jesus. Some of us wish that Lee Harvey Oswald really was what they say he was, if only to cling to a theory that provides a neat and tidy resolution to the ugliest of nationally televised episodes. But anyone who thinks...anyone who thinks long and hard... anyone with the courage to face the logical conclusions of that thought may not sleep so well tonight.

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