Monday, November 22, 2010

Remembering JFK

Each year during the past forty seven, there has been less and less said about JFK's assasination. It appalls me, but I understand that most of us living today weren't even born in 1963.

I was kind of in love with Kennedy even though I was still too young to have voted for him. His legacy today, however, is laced with a kind of blandness as though aside from his youth, his wit and charisma, his attractive young family, he really accomplished very little. This is blatently wrong.

Kennedy's legacy grows with each passing year even though the tributes wane. True, he allowed Khruschev to get the upper hand (at first). Also true, that the Berlin Wall went up during his tenure. Indeed, he resided over the Bay of Pigs fiasco and we're all aware of his "indiscretions." But I believe today, that had that young president lived, he might have been one of our greatest leaders. Remember, he had only a thousand days in which to accomplish his agenda. The thing I remember about the Kennedy administration was the sense of idealism and public service it inspired in us, more than I have seen since, even though President Obama came close in 2008. We wanted to serve back then; patriotism was not just a word being being thrown back in our faces when we disagreed with government policies, it was a conviction. We believed passionately and reacted fervently.

As for his accomplisments, take note: the Peace Corps, the Alliance for Progress, Civil Rights legislation, the Space Program and the introduction of the Green Berets. His major accomplisment, however, was a tight and tense little psychological drama between the USA and the USSR known as The Cuban Missile Crisis, which, without the successful maneuvering of the Kennedys, might have left the world in a state of nuclear disaster.

I guess his potential greatness will never be known which is what happens when someone takes you out before your time. But I think when all is said and done, his star will ultimately shine as one of the brightest. And though there seem to be few tributes today, JFK, this forty-seventh anniversary of your assasination, I remember. And I am grateful to have learned my political abcs under your leadership. You never blamed others for your mistakes -- you took your lumps with calm and grace. How refreshing it would be if our leaders today would learn to do the same.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"...a billion simple acts of peace. . ."

Today, a number of Nobel Peace Laureates got together in Denver at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to support the Denver based "Peace Jam."

Attending the banquet forum was former president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, who had some choice words to say concerning the U.S. defense budget about which I will not comment at length here, since I have often expressed my opinion on our current conflicts. (Please see my blog "Afghanistan -- Why are we there?" dated July 15, 2010). Even so, that is not the purpose of this blog.

My purpose here is to draw attention to Peace Jam, about which I previously knew nothing, but now wish to become more familiar with as a volunteer.

Peace Jam is dedicated to changing the world with the help of Nobel Peace Laureates and ordinary people like us. So far, I'm not sure how they intend to go about this, but with the sponsorship of so many great minds, I am certainly hopeful.

As Presidente Arias says, ". . .the human race has twittered away its existence singing an endless song--a song of waste and hatred, where there should be progress and love."

These words have an element of truth; however, I maintain that the U.S. is the most generous of nations in humanitarian crises and if we concentrate on teaching our youth to give, and that to volunteer without expectation of gain is good, perhaps in subsequent generations, we will learn to spend less of our treasury on war and more on peace. There are a million ways we can accomplish this. Peace Jam may be one. Check out I intend to.