As we come up to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, it is easy to imagine that JFK was popular, and that the country was united around him.
In reality, there was a lot of hate of our 35th President.
Southern segregationists were furious with him for having taken a strong civil rights stand.
Kennedy was still being attacked for his Catholic faith by many evangelical Christians, who even today do not show any respect for the Pope and the Vatican.
Corporations were furious with JFK for having taken a strong stand against the steel industry price increases in 1962, and the oil industry in Texas was particularly condemnatory of him.
Organized crime was angry with the pursuit of the Mafia by Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
Cuban exiles were angry with JFK over the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and unhappy with the survival of Fidel Castro after the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
There was discontent within the FBI and CIA, as to the handling of issues by the Kennedy White House, which was challenging the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower talked about in his Farewell Address, after JFK had allowed himself to be influenced early on by these agencies and their agendas.
This is not to say that JFK was killed due to these opposition forces and hatred, but the point is that the nation was not one of unity around Kennedy, and he faced a daunting task to be reelected.
America was not a nation that was united anymore then, than it is now. We remember JFK fondly more for his tragic death than his ability to unite the American people and various interest groups.