Can you imagine a politician saying these words today? What can you do for your country...
by Marilyn Mackenzie
In his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said the words that most of us can still quote: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
In our newspaper this morning, a reader asked in the U.S. today, if a politician dared utter words like that before being elected, if he/she would ever be elected. The reader lamented that even those who claim they went less government are still of the mindset that they want to squeeze every penny out of the government they can before it goes completely broke. Sometimes, I think that man is correct. And I doubt that some would vote for anyone who implied that they should be giving more than getting. Yes, there are many who want the rich to give more, but not they themselves.
As I read through the entire script of Kennedy's speech, I realized how much the Democrats have changed over the years. Or, perhaps they haven't. Perhaps some of them were angered at Kennedy's words and were part of the supposed conspiracy to see him eliminated.
For instance, he said:
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage — and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
Do today's Democrats want us to assure the survival and success of liberty here and abroad? It doesn't seem so. Nor do today's libertarians or some of today's Republicans. And yet that has been our legacy, helping those who want liberty.
Kennedy spoke of both sides cooperating, and he was speaking about nations, but this could and should apply to both sides here within the U.S. as well:
Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belabouring those problems which divide us.
Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms — and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.
Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.
Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah — to "undo the heavy burdens -. and to let the oppressed go free."
And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavour, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
He issued challenges and reminded us of our past and our purpose:
All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation" — a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shank from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
Then, of course, he spoke the words that we all remember:
"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
And how did his speech end? With these words:
With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
Wow. Imagine having a Democrat president who asks for God's blessing. Imagine him/her saying that we were doing God's work here on earth. My how times have changed, how the Democrats have changed, how the definition of "tolerance" has changed.
That was an inspiring president. That was a president who was loved by people of all political persuasions and faiths. Kennedy was a uniter, at least of the "regular Joes and Josephines". Ronald Regan was a uniter as well. And I believe that Mitt Romney will be a uniter. He already shows us that he is interested in ALL Americans, not just those who will benefit him or vote for him, as is Obama's way.
So many of the speakers at the Republican National Convention left us with words of wisdom. Condoleezza Rice's words, for instance, saying that we have been a country that knows that if I am doing poorly it's not because someone else is doing well. Sadly, that's not the America of today, at least for those on the left. Our schools have done us all a disservice by not teaching our kids our history and by not teaching them good math skills or about the economy. No matter how much evidence is brought to persons on the left, they cannot grasp that taking more money from the rich will not solve our country's financial woes, but it will keep them from growing and expanding businesses.
Imagine, as the local newspaper reader mentioned, a politician today asking you what you were going to do for the government.
Imagine in this world where covetousness and envy have become "normal" asking people to give.
Imagine if each American who earns any income was required to pay taxes to support the government. Would those whose hands are always out for more start being more mindful of how our bloated federal government needs to be reduced if they were required to contribute?
Republicans are speaking about saying the difficult things. I sincerely hope that Americans are ready to hear the difficult things. I hope we can salvage America before we look even more like our European neighbors who were not wise with their money and entitlement programs.