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50 years later, John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address is still very relevant and inspirational

January 20, 2011

Google Logo Commemorating John F. Kennedy's Inaugural AddressThe image attached to this post is not meant to be a plug for Google.  As I went to look up something on Google today, I saw that Google had changed their logo to what you see here and clicked to see why Google had changed their usual multi-colored logo.  I saw that today is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy delivering his only Inaugural Address.  After reading his address, one can see that it is full of famous inspirational quotables, of which the most famous quotable is, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Given the rampant greed that exists in the executive offices of companies that received large sums of money from our country via the bailout, it would be appropriate if this quote was taped to their office doors.

There are some other inspirational quotables that I hope many will reflect on today with some level of clarity, as the Santa Ana Winds blow much of the smog far enough away to provide enough physical clarity to see the beautiful mountains that spoon Orange County.

“The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” There is no one political party that can hang its hat on this quote.  Whether the motivation be sincere or sinister, various interests have taken actions that would assume that our rights manifested from permissions of the state.  Both major political parties in this country are guilty of acting in contrast to this quote and that our government, as President Abraham Lincoln famously declared in the Gettysburg Address, is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, FOR the people”.

“Remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” President Kennedy’s reference to “both sides” was in reference to the countries allied under NATO and the Soviet-led block of countries.  Today, that reference could be to leaders of political factions on opposite sides of ideologies or issues at the federal, state and local levels need to reflect on that quote and understand there is no shame in working with others that you do not 100% agree with in order for our country, our state and our cities to move forward.

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” This quotable is soooo relevant today.  While many Americans have lost their jobs and are forced to stare at the possibility of becoming homeless square in the face, our country’s government gave uber-wealthy executives more than the help they needed from our pockets, while struggling to agree to help the extraordinary amount of unemployed Americans.  The thousands of people who camped out over night on Wednesday evening in Exposition Park in Los Angeles are only able to hope that the non-profit advocacy organization NACA will be able to help them on Thursday to avoid home foreclosure by assisting them with restructuring their home loans.  Greed will not sustain one for the long-term, whether that is a result of popular groundswell or eternal judgment.  The uber-wealthy can only ride the backs of the rest of us for so long.

I hope that these selected quotes and the rest of President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address positively inspire you as they have inspired millions after he gave this address that winter in 1961.


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