Thoughts on the death of JKF
Friday, October 22, 2013 marked the Fiftieth Anniversary of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. So respected and so loved was JFK that his murder traumatized a nation to the point almost everyone who lived through the tragedy has very distinct memories of the days surrounding the events. Even as we have learned more and more of President Kennedy’s personal faults, his status a legionary leader only grow stronger. I think part of this comes from Kennedy’s approach to government: “ask what you can do for your country,” i.e. support society, while using government as a tool to serve the interests of the disenfranchised, i.e. make government effective and ensure it plays its proper role in society.
It is also important to remember this was a time when Americans were just learning to distrust government and recognize the hazards of the self-serving influence of special interest groups. Although it is pivotal to understand and address negative aspects of government, there is a lesson in trust. No trust equals no support for government and no government means the good government does, which is often taken for granted, goes undone. When dealing with our nuclear dealings with Russia, the US embraces the motto: “trust, but verify.” I think we should embrace a more Kennedy era faith, but get more involved in our democratic government to ensure government is serving our interests.
Just on the Tuesday before this Friday Anniversary, the Anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech was also marked. Another well-respected and beloved leader, Abraham Lincoln respected States rights, but also acted to preserve our society and defend the disenfranchised. In many regards, President Lincoln and President Kennedy have much in common, including the support and faith of the American People. For democracy to be successful, the People must support government and our leaders enough to seek their leadership and pursue our interests through the powers garnered by government. It is absolutely essential to call our leaders out on their bad behavior and policies that undermine our interests, but we also need to actively support and encourage our leaders when they do what they should be doing and seek to inspire us to be more.
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