The Speech JFK Never Made

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Fifty years after the fateful assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, America still remembers its progressive Democratic President.

JFK was a man of many stories and recognitions. Aside from being president of the United States, he was a Harvard graduate, the first Roman Catholic to ever be elected to the presidency,  a World War II naval hero, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in history for his book, “Profiles in Courage.”  He also established the Alliance For Progress and the Peace Corps,  and called for Civil Rights reform across the nation long before legislation was passed to provide equal rights for all American citizens.

On Nov. 22, 1963, hardly past 1,000 days in office, Kennedy was assassinated by a gunman while his motorcade drove through Dallas.  He was one of the youngest presidents ever elected, and one of the youngest to die.

That night in Texas, he was scheduled to give a speech at a $100-a-plate fundraising welcome dinner at the Austin Municipal Auditorium, in Austin. Hundreds of Texans had traveled to Austin in anticipation to see their beloved president, and the auditorium was filled with chairs, tables, and caterers.

The dinner never happened.

Presidential historian and New York Times contributing columnist Michael Beschloss recently unveiled an excerpt of Kennedy’s planned speech that night. The excerpt is shockingly relevant to the American public in the present day.

“Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a Party is not to our Party alone, but to the nation, and, indeed, to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom.

So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake.

Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause — united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future — and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

In October, we suffered the third longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The 16-day shutdown had mostly to do with the political resentment against the Affordable Care Act, and the Republican and Democratic party’s refusal to cooperate in both the House and the Senate. Approximately 800,000 government employees were furloughed, and 1.3 million had to work without an anticipated pay day.

The Republican-run House was pressured to keep the Affordable Care Act at bay with the shutdown by senators such as Ted Cruz and conservative groups such as Heritage Action.

The Democratic-led Senate simply passed resolutions maintaining funding at the current sequestration levels of the time, with no further resolution, and they refused to make compromise with the Republicans.

Kennedy spoke that “Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed.” And he stated bluntly that, “so let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake.”

So why did we allow for ourselves to deteriorate in ethics and maturity?

America needs to refocus itself, and think about who we elect as our public leaders and legislators. The current millennial generation often complains about the current state of the country, but they have yet to contribute anything more than the Occupy movement, and the occasional social media rant.

If America is to return to the era of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, change must be struck at from the heart of the nation and ripple to every inch of our border. Equality must be no longer an issue in this country, and we have to allow ourselves to evaluate our public leaders with a criteria of honesty and dedication to the enrichment and positive progression of the public.

Exactly 50 years ago, President Kennedy was warning us against the very country we let ourselves become today. So I ask you to not only remember JFK as the young presidential martyr, but remember the man for what he stood for, and for the beliefs he wished to reflect throughout this great nation, from sea to shining sea.