Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Remembrance of President Kennedy

It's hard to believe that 45 years have passed since President Kennedy was assasinated. November 22 (which was November 23 here in the Philippines) is a day that those of us who were at least old enough to understand the world around them will not forget.

It seems that in the last several years, much of what we have heard is the dark side of his personal life. But his flaws do not change the fact that Kennedy inspired a generation of Americans to become socially and politically involved. One such example was the Peace Corps, which was his creation. Another was the battle for integration and voting rights in the South, in which many students, white as well as black, who felt encouraged to become active by JFK's exhortation to "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country".

So I can't help but wonder what would have happened if JFK had carried out his term (or terms). I like to think that he would have been rational enough to eventually see the folly of further involvement by America in Vietnam and would have reversed course. I don't think that he would have implemented the failed "guns and butter" policies of his VP successor, Lyndon Johnson, which is what led to the radicalization of the anti-war and the civil rights movements.

Today we have a president-elect whose youth, charisma, and ability to inspire others are similar to that of JFK. I only hope that Obama can deliver the goods. If he does, America will prosper in more ways than one, just as the country very possibly might have done under the uniterrupted presidency of John Kennedy.