What would President Kennedy think of 21st Century America?November 22, 2013
Today is, of course, the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. I’ve lived my entire life surrounded by images of the shooting, the funeral and the mourning of the American people. As we commemorate his passing, I can’t help but wonder what President Kennedy would think of the America we’ve created without him.
Today, Congress is so severely divided and dysfunctional that our federal government was forced into a lengthy, expensive shutdown. Unable to agree on sensible budget compromises, our legislators have reverted to the blunt instrument of a sequester that forces mindless, across-the-board spending cuts. Corporations have been declared to be “people” under the campaign finance laws, the gap between the wealthy and the rest of us widens daily, environmental and worker safety standards are under continual attack, our intelligence agencies blithely ignore court orders, and our culture has been taken captive by righteous indignation, endless finger-pointing and the pursuit of wealth above all else.
If JFK were to reappear miraculously tomorrow, I honestly think he’d be horrified.
Before the trolls come down like thunder, I know all about President Kennedy’s personal shortcomings and I’m not about to defend them. He was a man, not a god, and had clay feet like everybody else. But JFK understood that America, at its best, is a place where inspiration is more important than acquisition, where liberty and opportunity really must belong to everyone, and where our international standing should be based on moral authority, not just economic and military muscle.
Recently, I suggested to a pretty young soprano that she check out Camelot for audition material. Puzzled, she said she’d never heard of the show. That broke my heart, not only because I love Camelot myself but because it means that our youngsters have already forgotten Camelot‘s title song which was, of course, the theme of the Kennedy Administration. Can they even imagine an America worthy of being dubbed a modern Camelot? I wonder.
According to legend, King Arthur of Camelot will return some day to lead Britain into a new era of peace and plenty. JFK won’t return, but perhaps we could rebuild a little of his dream in remembrance. Come on, America … we can do better.
This entry was posted in Business Ethics, ethics, Lauren Recommends, Legal Ethics, Personal Ethics, Presidential Campaign, Social Ethics. Bookmark the permalink. ← Why even bother to apologize? Should impoverished garment workers be thankful to H&M? →