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January 4, 2012

1

Creative Whack #14: Look to the Past (JFK style)

by Andrea O'Connell

So, last night Iowa reminded us all that it’s an election year.

I believe that 2012, if history repeats itself, will bode well for the economy and for jobs.  Optimism has flourished during Presidential election cycles over the years.  Optimism is my cry for 2012.

Hope in 2012 is on the collective minds of the American people who are, at this moment, suffering.  We have to hope, the opposite of hope is not an option.

To the homeless and the thousands of people who are hungry, jobless and without unemployment benefits (while fat-cat politicians wine and dine heavy-hitting money-makers to pay for another opponent-smearing TV ad), I’d soberly say, we need to hope, but we can’t hang our hats on that alone.

We can’t trust only in God without taking action ourselves.  God is good, yes, but He can’t pay the rent – unless someone pays us to preach.

When I hear people in desperate situations say, “It’s in God’s hands,” while the kids are hungry, it drives me nuts.  When in the world did that become a tactic for survival?

Massive homelessness and hunger was something I never believed could occur in the United States – that was when I was younger and more naive.

Still, I would never depend on God to fix the problems we face as a nation.   But, that’s a real problem today in Presidential elections – many people in this country want to elect a God, not a smart, honest and fair person to run the country.

God has nothing to do with the work of a politician or US President.

Should it matter that a President goes to church or temple? NO!

Should we care how often they pray?   NO, no, a thousand times NO!!!

I don’t much like Presidential politics.  I especially don’t like politics when religion is in the mix.

But, I really don’t like the nasty attacks and the lamb-to-slaughter advertising we see these days.

You’d think politicians would want to advertise the good work they’ve done in office, not just trash the opponent. But, constant trash-talk?  Well, that’s the name of the game now.  The candidates must now suck-up to royal Got-Rock-Backers to pay for ads that slime the opponent.

Created by Roger von Oech

The issue of campaign finance and slimy ads is a non partisan beef of mine, by the way.  Democrats play this game, too, although generally to a lesser degree.

I tend to get cynical around Presidential election years.  I despise the television ads and don’t trust most politicians.

I don’t want to believe that the Make-the-Other-Guy-A-Slime-Ball game even exists.  But it does – the game has been years in the making, too.

Yeap.  The game must be played.  When a candidate today doesn’t play the game and get backed by a Mr. or Mrs. Got-Rocks with a slimy agenda, say bye-bye to that candidate.

The winner of an election, it seems to me, goes to whomever can out-spend and out-slime the other guy.

Game-winners are those able to pay clever writers who craft wild stories out of whole-cloth.

Remember a time when “Swift-Boating” ads and tactics didnt‘t win elections?   I can’t.

“Swift-boating,” though not in Webster’s dictionary – is defined, depending on how you look at it, as either whistle-blowing on a bad-guy, or re-writing the history of a good guy.

Regardless, it is now an election-year strategy that is bought and paid for by the American people, in more ways than one. Blood sport, really.  Power is at stake.

Anyway, getting back to what I intended to write about: Looking to the past.  Here is my short look-back at the words of John F. Kennedy (JFK):

The voters selected us, in short, because they had confidence in our judgement and our ability to exercise that judgement from a position where we could determine what were their own best interest, as a part of the nation’s interest.  From JFK’s Profiles in Courage, 1956.

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis”. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.  1959 Speech

The New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises — it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.  Acceptance Speech as the Democratic presidential nominee

If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.” 1960 speech in New York.

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 shrink 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 endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.  And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

And finally, this….

For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us—recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state—our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

  • First, were we truly men of courage—with the courage to stand up to one’s enemies—and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one’s associates—the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?
  • Secondly, were we truly men of judgment—with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past—of our mistakes as well as the mistakes of others—with enough wisdom to know what we did not know and enough candor to admit it?
  • Third, were we truly men of integrity—men who never ran out on either the principles in which we believed or the men who believed in us—men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?
  • Finally, were we truly men of dedication—with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and comprised of no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest?

Courage—judgment—integrity—dedication—these are the historic qualities … which, with God’s help … will characterize our Government’s conduct in the 4 stormy years that lie ahead.  1961 speech.

“Courage—judgment—integrity—dedication,” said JFK, are the qualities that should define us.   I believe our current President is the embodiment of these qualities.

I believe Obama is both the hope and the keeper of faith that the American People need now.

And that’s my look to the past and to the future.

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Diane
    Jan 4 2012

    Amen Sister!

    Reply

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