Wednesday, November 22, 2006

JFK and Thanksgiving

[Okay, last post of my marathon pre-Thanksgiving blogging.]

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The day which we thank God and each other for all of the blessings and other good stuff in our lives, and try to ignore the bad for a little while.

I am not going to go into the usual list of things that I am thankful for, other than that we live in the best damn country in the world. Instead, I would like to share a little bit of history.

On this day in 1963, President John F Kennedy was assassinate in Dallas, Texas, marking the end of a life cut too short and the beginning of an era of unrest in the United States. We had already dealt with the Bay of Pigs, Communist Russia, and the very beginnings of the Vietnam War (which France started, btw). But this was nothing to compare to the social changes of the rest of the 1960s; and with it, the death of the Democrat party.

John Kennedy was a democrat, but unlike his cousin Teddy, he was also a great and courageous man.

Here are a few lines from John Kennedy's inaugural speech on 20 January, 1961. (You can also listen to it here if you use Real Player.)

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, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do -- for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom -- and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

I'll be a monkey's uncle if ol' JFK doesn't sound pretty Pro-America, Pro-Democracy, and, rare I say it, kind of Republican.

Now, I know that "times have changed" and that the worlds is different, etcetera, but where has this American Exceptionalism gone in today's Democrats, and even some Republicans?

This Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to those who came before us to make this country the great place it is, and those who defend it today.

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